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ERABMT78, AND THOMAS MoRE: a Hlslory of their 
Fellow-Work. 8vo. 19«. 6d. 

TION. With 4 Maps and 12 Dia^raniB. Fcp. 8vo. 
3«. 6d. (Epoch* of Modem History.) 

amined iu ita RelationB to the Manorial and Tribal 
HysteniB and to the Common or Oi^en Field System of 
Husbandry. An Essay in Economic History. With 
13 Maps and Plates. 8vo. 12a. 6d. 

of an Inquiry into the Structure and Methods of 
Tril>al Society. With an Introductory Note on the 
Unit of Family HoMintt under Early Tribal CuBtoui. 
With 3 Maps. 8\o.lls.6ti. 

IwinK an 'Essay 8ui)i)le]nontaI to (1) 'The Englif>h 
Villatfo Community,' (2) ' The Tribal System in WaU;s.' 
8vo. 13«. Gd. 

LONGMANS, GREEN, & CO. 39 Paternoster Row; 
London, New York, and Bombay. 









Hon.LL.D.(Edin)., Litt.D.(Camb). 




All rishtfi reserTed 


• • 

» !• • 

• • 

• • 









When I had the honour to lay the two papers which 
have expanded into this volume before the Society 
of Antiquaries, it was with a confession and an 
apology which, in publishing and dedicating to them 
this Essay, I now repeat. 

I confessed to having approached the subject not as 

an antiquary but as a student of Economic Bistory, 

and even with a dir ectly politi cal interest. To learn 

-^he meaning of the old order of things, with its 

V * c ommunity' and * equality ' as a key to a right 

f understanding of the new order of things, with its 

cont rastin g in^vidual independence and inequality, 

this was the object which in the first instance 

tempted me to poach upon antiquarian manors, and 

it must be my apology for treating from an economic 

point of view a subject which has also an antiquarian 


To statesmen, whether of England or of the new 
Englands across the oceans, the importance can 
hardly be over-estimated of a sound appreciation of 

viii Preface. 

the nature of that remarkable economic evolution 
in the course of which the great EngUsh speaking 
nations have, so to speak, become charged in our 
time with the trial of the experiment— let us hope 
also with the solution of the problem — of freedom 
/ and democracy^ using the words in the highest political 
L sense as the antipodes of FaUrmd Government and 

Perhaps, without presumption, it may be said that 
the future happiness of the human race — the success 
or failure of the planet — ^is in no small degree 
dependent upon the ultimate course of what seems, 
to us at least, to be the main stream of human pro- 
gress, upon whether it shall be guided by the fore- 
sight of statesmen into safe channels or misguided, 
diverted, or obstructed, till some great social or 
political convulsion proves that its force and its direc- 
tion have been misunderstood. 

It may indeed be but too true that, in spite of the 
economic lessons of the past — 

The weary Titan ! with deaf 
Ears, and labour dimmed eyee, 
Eegarding neither to right 
Nor left, goes paasiyely by, 
Staggering on to her goal ; 
Bearing on ahoolders immenae, 
AtlantSan, the load, 
Wellnigh not to be borne, 
Of the too vast orb of her fi^. 

And she may continue to do so, however clearly 
and truthfully the economic lessons of the past may 
be dinned into her ear. But still the deep sense I 

Preface. ix 

have endeavoured to describe in these few sentences 
of the importance of a sound understanding of English 
Economic History as the true basis of much of the 
practical politics of the future will be accepted, I 
trust, as a sufficient reason why, ill-furnished as I 
have constantly found myself for the task, I should 
have ventured to devote some years of scant leisure 
to the production of this imperfect Essay. 

It is simply an attempt to set English Economic 
History upon right lines at its historical commence- 
ment by trying to solve the still open question 
whetlxfiT it began with the freedom or with the serf 
dom of the masses of the people — ^whether the village 
^coS^^mties^^ng In the * hams' and Hons' of 

/ England were, at the outset of English history, free 
Vvillage communities or communities in serfdom under 

( a manorial lordship ; and further, what were their 
relations to the tribal communities of the Western 
and less easily conquered portions of the island. 

On the answer to this question depends funda- 
mentally the view to be taken by historians (let us 
say by politicians also) of the nature of the economic 
evolution which has taken place in England since the 
English Conquest. If answered in one way, English 
Economic History begins with free village communities 
which gradually degenerated into the serfdom of the 
Middle Ages. If answered in the other way, it begins 

^ with the serfdom of the masses of the rural popula- 
tion under Saxon rule — a serfdom from which it has 

! taken 1,000 years of English economic evolution to 


^ set them free. 



z Preface. 

Much learning and labour have already been ex- 
pended upon this question, and fresh light has been 
recently streaming in upon it from many sides. 

r"""'A real flash of light was struck when German 

' .tuJSSlSSav-^th^^^iSSoi between the widely 
prevalent common or open field system of husbandry, 
and the village community which for centuries had 
used it as a shell. Whatever ma j be the ultimate 
v^idictuppn j3:'^L: von Maurer's tfieory of the German 
* mark,' thepe,jca{uJjfe..Jio doubt of its service as a 
working hypothesis by means of which the study 

/ of the economic problem has been materially ad- 

A great step was taken as regards the EngUsh 
problem when Mr. Kemble, followed by Mr. Freeman 
and others, attempted to trace in English constitu- 
tional histoiy the development of ancient German 
free institutions, and to solve the EngUsh problem 

'^jipon the lines of the German * mark.* The merit of 
this attempt will not be destroyed even though doubt 
should be thrown upon the correctness of tins 
suggested solution of the problem, and though other 
and non-German elements should prove to have been 
larger factors in English economic history. The 
caution observed by Professor Stubbs in the early 
chapters of his great work on English Constitutional 
History may be said to have at least reopened the 
question whether the German ^mark system' ever 
really took root in England. 

Another step was gained on somewhat new lines 
when Professor Nasse, of Bonn, pointed out to English 


Preface. xi 

students (who hitherto had not realised the fact) that 
the English and German land systems were the same, 
yand that in England also the open-field system of 
/ husbandry was the shell of the mediaeval village com- 
^•munity. The importance of this view is obvious, 
.^and it is to be regretted that no English student has 
*- as yet followed it up by an adequate examination of 
' the remarkably rich materials which lie at the dis- 
posal of EngUsh Economic History. 

A new flash, of light at once lit up the subiect 
and gready widened its interest when Sir Henry S. 
JJainej^carrymg with him to India his profound insight 
into *Ajicient Law,' recognised the fundamental 
'analogies between the ' village communities ' of the 
East and the West, and sought to use actually sur- 
viving Indian institutions as typical representatives 
f of ancient stages of similar Western institutions. Un- 
w.doubtedly much more light may be looked for from 
the same direction. 

.^ Further, Sir Henry S. Maine has opened fresh 
^ ground, and perhaps (if he will permit me to say so) 

\ even to some extent narrowed the area within which 
Uhe theory of archaic free village conamunities can 

be applied, by widening the range of investigation in 
(yet another direction. In h^ lectures on the ' Early 

HQistory of Institutions ' he has turned his telescope 
on the<n352c^ommunities, and especially the * tribal 

i^ystem' ^Tuie Brehon laws, and tried to dissolve 

parts of its mysterious nebulae into stars — a work in 
/whicK^'^e^l^ai^ been followed by Mr. W. F. Skene 
(with results which give a peculiar interest to the third 

xii Preface. 

voliijne^Qf^at learned writer's valuable work on 
* Celtic Scotland.' 

Lastly, under the close examination of Dr. Landau 
and Professors H ansse n and Meitzen, the open^eld 
system itself has been found in Germany to take 
several distinct forms, corresponding, in part at least, 
with differences in economic conditions, if not directly 
with various stages in economic development, from 
the early tribal to the later manorial system. 

It is very much to be desired that the open-field 
system of the various districts of France should be 
carefully studied in the same way. An examination 
of its widely extended modem remains could hardly 
fail to throw important light upon the contents of the 
cartularies which have been published in the ' Collec- 
tion de Documents In^dits sur I'histoire de France,' 
amongst which the * Polyptique dUrminon^ with 
M. Gu^rard's invaluable preface, is pre-eminently 

In the meantime, whilst students had perhaps been 
too exclusively absorbed in working in the rich mine 
of early German institutions, Mr. Coote has done 
service in recalling attention in his * Neglected Fact 
in English History ' and his ' Romans of Britain ' to 
the evidences which remain of the survival of Roman 
influences in English institutions, even though it may 
be true that some of his conclusions may require re- 
consideration. The details of the later Roman pro- 
vincial government, and of the economic conditions 
of the German and British provinces, remain so 
obscure even after the labours of Mommsen, Mar- 

Preface. xiii 

quardt, and Madvig, that he who attempts to build 
a bridge across the gulf of the Teutonic conquests 
between Boman and English institutions still builds it 
somewhat at a venture. 

It is interesting to find that problems connected 
with early English and German Economic History are 
engaging the careful and independent research also 
of American students. The contributions of Mr. 
D^ mnan Ro ss, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and 
Pr ofessOT AJfe n, of the University of Wisconsin, will 
be welcomed by fellow-students of these questions in 
the old country. 

It has seemed to me that the time may have 
come when an inquiry directed strictly upon 
economic lines, and carefully following the English 
evidence, might strike a light of its own, in the 
strength of which the various side lights might 
perhaps be gathered together and some clear result 
obtained, at least as regards the main course of 
economic evolution in England. 

The English, like the Continental village com- 
munity, as we have said, inha bited^ shell — an open- 
field 8ys|§m — ^into the nooks and comers of which it 
was curiously bound and fitted, and from which it 
was apparently inseparable. 

The remains of this cast-ofi* shell still survive in 
parishes where no Enclosure Act happens to have 
swept them away. The common or open field system 
can even now be studied on the ground within the town- 
ship in which I am writing as well as in many others. 

jriv Preface. 

TSIen are still living who have held and worked farms 
under its inconvenient rules, and who know the 

(^-meaHing of its terms and eccentric details. Making 
use of this circumstance the method pursued in this 
Essay will be, first, to become familiar with the httle 
distinctive marks and traits of the Enghsh open- 
field system, so that they may be readily recognised 
wherever they present themselves ; and then, pro- 
ceeding from the known to the unknown, carefully 
to trace back the shell by searching and watching 
for its marks and traits as far into the past as evi- 
dence can be found. Using the knowledge so 
acquired about the shell as the key, the inquiry will 
turn upon its occupant. Examining how the mediaeval 
English village community in serfdom fitted itself into 
the shell, and then again working back from the 
known to the unknown, it may be perhaps possible 
to discern whether, within historical times, it once 
had been free, or whether its serfdom was as old as 
the shell. 

^ The relation of the * tribal system ' in Wales, in 

/Ireland, and in Germany to the open-field system, 
I and so also to the village community, will be a 
\ necessary branch of the inquiry. It will embrace 
also both the German and the Eoman sources of 
serfdom and of the manorial system of land manage- 

It may at least be possible that Economic History 
may sometimes find secure stepping stones over what 
may be impassable gulfs in constitutional history ; 

Preface. xv 

and it obviously does not follow that a continuity 
lost, perhaps, to the one may not have been pre- 
served by the other. The result of a strictly economic 
inquiry may, as already suggested, prove that more 
things went to the ^ making of England ' than were 
imported in the keels of the English invaders of 
Britain. But whatever the result — ^whatever modifi- 
cations of former theories the facts here brought 
into view, after full consideration by others, may 
suggest — ^I trust that this Essay will not be regarded 
as controversial m its aim or its spirit. I had rather 
that it were accepted simply as fellow-work, as a 
stone added at the eleventh hour to a structure in 
the building of which others, some of whose names I 
have mentioned, have laboured during the length 
and heat of the day. 

In conc lusion, I have to tender my best thanks 
to^,.5ijr^^^£Cury .85^ Ma^^ fQT the kind interest he has 
taken, and the sound advice he has given, during the 
greparationof this Essay for the press ; also to Mr. 
Elton, for similar unsolicited help generously given. 
To my friend George von Bunsen, and to Professor 
Meitro n, of Berlin, I am deeply indebted as regards 
the Gterman branches of my subject, and to Mr. T. 
Hodgkin and Mr. H. Felham as regards the Boman 
side of it. For the ever ready assistance of my 
friend Mr. H. Bradshaw, of Cambridge, Mr. Selby, of 
the Becord Office, and Mr. Thompson, of the British 
Museum, in reference to the manuscripts under their 
charge, I cannot be too gratefuL Nor must I omit 


xri Prejaee. 

to acknowledge the care with which Messrs. Stuart 
Moore and Eork have undertaken for me the task of 
revising the text and translations of the many ex- 
tracts from medieval documents contained in this 


j Thb Hermit Ajgi^HnoHnr I \ 






* 1. The dislinctiye marks of the open-field system • • 1 
. 2, Scattered and intermixed ownership in the open fields • 7 
' 3. The open fields were the common fields of a village com- 
munity or township under a manor • • . • 8 
' 4. The wide prevalence of the system through Great 

Britain 13 



* 1. The identity of the system with that of the Middle 

Ages 17 

• 2. The Winslow Manor Rolls of the reign of Edward III. 

—example of a virgate or yard-land • • • . 22 
' 3. The Hundred Rolls of Edward I. embracing five 

Midland Counties ••.•..• 32 
4. Tlie Hundred Rolls (continued), — Relation of the virgate 

to the hide and carucate • 36 

' 5. The Hundred Rolls {continued), — The services of the 

villein tenants ••••••• 40 

zviii Contents. 


• 6. Description in Fleta of a manor in the time of Edward I. 45 

* 7. S.£. of England — The hide and viigate under other 

names (the records of Battle Abbey and St Paul's) • 49 

8. The relation of the viigate to the hide traced in the 

cartularies of Gloucester and Worcester Abbeys, 

and the custumal of Bleadon in Somersetshire • . 55 

9. Cartularies of Newminster and Kelso, thirteenth cen* 

tury — ^The connexion of the holdings with the 

common plough team of eight oxen .... 60 

10. The Boldon Book, A.D. 1183 68 

1 1 . The ' liber Niger ' of Peterborough Abbey, a.d. 1 1 25 . 72 

12. Summary of the post-Domesday evidence • • • 76 



1. There were manors everywhere 82 

2. The division of the manor into lord's demesne and land 

in villenage 84 

3. The free tenants on the lord's demesne . • • . 86 

4. The classes of tenants in villenage .... 89 

5. The villani were holders of virgates, &c, • . .91 

6. The holdings of the bordarii or cottiers .... 95 

7. The Domesday survey of the Villa of Westminster . 97 

8. The extent of the cultivated land of England, and how 

much was included in the yai*d-lands of the villani • 101 



1. The village fields under Saxon rule were open fields • 105 

2. The holdings were composed of scattered strips . . 110 

3. The open-field system of co-aration described in the 

ancient laws of Wales • ; • • • .117 

C(mtent8. xiz 




I. The Saxon 'bams ' and 'tons' were manors with village 

commonitieB in serfdom npon them . » .126 

* 2. The ' Bectitudines Singolarum Personamm ' . .129 

• 3. The thane and his services • 134 

• 4. The geneats and their services • 137 

• 5. The double and ancient character of the services of the 

gebor — Qafol and week-work 142 

•6. Serfdom on a manor of King Edwy • • • .148 
- 7. Serfdom on a manor of King Alfred .... 160 
^ S. The theows or slaves on the lord's demesne • . .164 

.9. Hie creation of new manors 166 

^10. The laws of King Ethelbert — There were manors in 

the sixth century 173 

.11. Besult of the Saxon evidence 175 



1. Evidence of the Domesday Survey . . • • 181 

2. The Welsh land system in the twelftb century . .186 

3. The Welsh land system according to the Welsh laws . 189 

4. Land divisions under the Welsh Codes .199 

5. Earlier evidence of the payment of Welsh gwestva, or 

food-rent . 208 



1. The tribal system in Ireland and Scotland . . . 214 

2. The tribal system in its earlier stages .... 231 

3. The distinction between the tribal and i^cultural 

economy of the West and South-East of Britain was 
pre-Roman, and so also was the open-field system • 245 





' I. Importance of the Continental evidence • . . 252 

, 2. The connexion between the Saxon ' ham/ the German 

* heim/ and the Frankish ' villa ' . . . . 253 

. 3. The Eoman ' villa/ its easy transition into the later 
manor, and its tendeni^' to become the predominant 
type of estate ••..•••• 263 

t 4. The smaller tenants on the ' Ager Publicus ' in Eoman 

provinces — ^The veterans 272 

5. The smaller tenants on the ' Ager Publicus ' {continued) — 

theMffiti' 280 

6. The ' tributum ' of the later Empire . . • .289 

7. The * sordida munera ' of the later Empire . . 295 
' 8. The tendency towards a manorial management of the 

' Ager Publicus/ or Imperial domain . . . 300 
K 9. The succession to semi-servile holdings, and methods 

of cultivation 308 

.10. The transition from the Eoman to the later manorial 

system • . • • 316 



• 1. The German tribal system and its tendency towards the 

manorial system 336 

2. The tribal households of Geiman settlers . • . 346 

CilAin^ER X, 


• 1. The open-field system in England and in Grermany com- 

pared 368 

' 2. The boandaries or ' maixshss '••••• 375 



S. The three fields, or < selgen ' 376 

' 4. The diyision of the fields into furlongs and acres . . 380 

5. The holdings— the < yard land ' or ' hub ' • . . 389 
•6. The hide, the ' hof/ and the ' centuiia ' • . . .395 

7. The gafol and gafd-yrth 399 

• 8. The boon-work and week- work of the serf • • 403 

'9. The creation of serfii and the growth of serfdom 406 

10. The conftision in the status of the tenants on English 

and Qermon manors 407 

1 1. Besolt of the oomparison 409 



1. Hie method of the English settlements . • • • 412 

2. Local evidence of continuity between Roman and 

English villages 424 

8. Conclusion 437 


INDEX An GLOSSABT ..«•«•« 455 






' I. Importance of the Continental evidence • . . 252 
, 2. The connexion between the Saxon ' ham/ the German 

'heim/ and the Frankish ' villa' .... 253 
. 3. The Roman ' villa,' its easy transition into the later 

manor, and its tendeni^^ to become the predominant 

type of estate ....•••• 263 
X 4. The smaller tenants on the ' Ager Publicos ' in Roman 

provinces — The veterans 272 

5. The smaller tenants on the ' Ager Publicus ' {continued) — 

the'ljBti' 280 

6. The ' tributum ' of the later Empire .... 289 

7. The ' sordida munera ' of the later Empire . 295 
' 8. The tendency towards a manorial management of the 

' Ager PubUcus/ or Imperial domain . . 300 

K 9. The succession to semi-servile holdings, and methods 

of cultivation 308 

.10. The transition from the Roman to the later manorial 

system •.•••.••• 316 



• 1. The Grerman tribal system and its tendency towards the 

manorial system 336 

2. The tribal households of German settlers . . . 346 

OliAFfER X. 


• 1. The open-field system in England and in Grermany com- 

pared 368 

' 2. The boundaries or ' maixshsB '••••• 375 



S. The three fields, or < selgen ' 376 

• 4. The division of the fields into furlongs and aoree . . 380 
5. The holdings— the ' yard land ' or * hub ' • . .389 

• 6. The hide, the ' hof/ and the ' oenturia ' • . . .395 
7. The gafol and gafol-yrth 399 

• 8. The boon-work and week- work of the serf • 403 
9. The creation of serfr and the growth of serfdom 405 

10. The confiision in the status of the tenants on English 

and German manors • 407 

11. Result of the comparison 409 



• 1. Tlie method of the English settlements . • • • 412 
'3. Local eyidence of continuity between Roman and 

English villages ••».••• 424 

• 8. Conclusion • 487 





1. Map or Hitohin Towkbhip, &o. 

2. IIap of Pabt or Pubwsll Field . • 
8. Skbtoh or 'Linoxs' 





7. HaNOB or TiDBNHAM, &0 „ 


to face HUe-page 

p. 2 







9. Mapb or AM Ibish 'Ballt' and *half-Ballt' 


11. DnTBiBUTioN IN EuBOPB or Local Kambb bndino 

nr 'hbim,' *inobn/ &c „ 

12. Map or thb Nxiohbourhood of Hitohin 


18. Map or thb Pabibh or Much Wtmondlbt and 




BoMAM Holding 






• ••_••• 

• -« 

• • • • 





I. THE BismrcnyB mabks of the open field STETTEM. 

The distinctiye marks of the open or common field Cou^l 
system once prevalent in England will be most easily 
learned by the study of an example. 

Thetownship of iQtchin, in Hertfordshire, will OpeafieicU 
answer the purpose! Kom the time^ofTldward the Manor. ° 
Confessor — ^and probably from much earlier times — 
with intervals of private ownership, it has been a 
royal manor. ^ And the Queen being still the lady 
of the manor, the remains of its open fields have 
never been swept away by the ruthless broom of an 
Enclosure Act. 

Annexed is a reduced tracing of a map of the 

^ The lM0er manon included in for the present purpose do not de- 
it uw dearlj only «ii&-inanor«, and itroy its original unity. 


2 The English Village Community. 

^ ^^*^' township without the hamlets, made about the year 
1816, and showing all the divisions into which its 
fields were then cut up. 

It.wjll be seeniiit once that it presents almost the 
features' <if a spideir's web. A great part of the town- 
ship, at- that daliei,:probalt>ly nearly the whole of it in 
earher times, was divided up into little narrow strips. 
Dhided Thcse Strips, common to open fields all over Eng- 

otmHotm, land, were separated from each other not by hedges, 
b**^iw* ^^* ^y g^^^^ balks of unploughed turf, and are of 
great historical interest. They vary more or less in 
size even in the same fields, as in the examples given 
on the map of a portion of the Hitchin Purwell field. 
There are * long ' strips and * short ' strips. But tak- 
ing them generally, and comparing them with the 
statute acre of the scale at the corner of the map, it 
will be seen at once that the normal strip is roughly 
identical with it. The length of the statute acre of 
the scale is a fiirlong of 40 rods or poles. It is 4 
Form of rods in width. Now 40 rods in length and 1 rod in 
* **^"* width make 40 square rods, or a rood ; and thus, as 
there are 4 rods in breadth, the acre of the scale with 
which the normal strips coincide is an acre made up 
of 4 roods lying side by side. 

Thus the strips are in fact roughly cut ' acres,' of 
the proper shape for ploughing. For the furlong is 
the * furrow long,' i.e. the length of the drive of the 
plough before it is turned ; and that this by long 
custom was fixed at 40 rods, is shown by the use of 
the Latin word ' quarentena ' for furlong. The word 
* rood ' naturally corresponds with as many furrows in 
the ploughing as are contained in the breadth of one 
rod. And four of these roods lying side by side made 



The Hitchin Open Fields. 3 

the acre strip in the open fields, and still make up ^^'h^- I- 

the statute acre. Very an- 

This form of the acre is very ancient. Six hundred 
years ago, in the earliest English lav7 fixing the size 
of the statute acre (33 Ed. I.), it is declared that 

* 40 perches in length and 4 in breadth make an acre.* ^ 
And further, we shall find that more than a thousand 
years ago in Bavaria the shape of the strip in the open 
fields for ploughing was also 40 rods in length and 4 
rods in width, but the rod was in that case the Greek 
and Eoman rod of 10 ft. instead of th? EngUsh rod of 

fl6^ ft. 

But to return to the English strips. In many Half acwi 
places the open fields were formerly divided into half- 
acre strips, which were called * half-acres.' That is to 
say, a turf balk separated every two rods or roods in 
the ploughing, the length of the furrow remaining 
the same. 

^^---The strips in the open fields are generally known 

[by counlry folk asj b^ks,' and the Latin word used 

in lemers aSd^artularies for the strip is generally 

* selio^' corresponding with the French word * sillonj 
(meaning ftirrow). In Scotland and Ireland the same 
strips generally are known as *rigs,' and the open 
field system is known accordingly as the * run-rig ' 

The whole arable area of an uninclosed township 
was usually divided up by turf balks into as many 
thousands of these strips as its limits would contain, 
and the tithing maps of many parishes besides Hitchin, 
dating sixty or eighty years ago, show remains of 

1 Statutes, Record Com. EcL i. p. 206. 

B 2 

4 The English Village Community. 

CaAP. I. them still existing, although the process of ploughing 
up the balks and throwing many strips together had 
gradually been going on for centuries. 

Shots or Next, it will be seen that the strips on the map lie 

or yuaref^ sidc by sidc in groups, forming larger divisions of 
the field. These larger divisions are called * shots,' 
or * furlongs,' and in Latin documents ' qaarentence^' 
being always a furrow-long in width. Throughout 
their whole length the furrows in the ploughing run 
parallel from end to end; the balks which divide 
them into strips being, as the word implies, simply 
two or three furrows left unploughed between them.^ 
The shots or furlongs are divided from one another 
by broader balks, generally overgrown with bushes. 

This grouping of the strips in furlongs or shots is 
a further invariable feature of the English open field 
HMdiAodB. system. And it involves another Uttle feature which 
is also universally met with, viz. the headland. 

It will be seen on the map that mostly a common 
field- way gives access to the strips ; i.e. it runs along 
the side of the furlong and the ends of the strips. But 
this is not always the case ; and when it is not, then there 
is a strip running along the length of the furlong inside 
its boundaries and across the ends of the strips compos- 
ing it.* T!hxs\s\hQ headland. Sometimeswhen the strips 
of the one furlong run at right angles to the strips of 
its neighbour, the first strip in the one furlong does 

^ Baic is a Welsh word; and 
when the plough is aocidentally 
tamed aside, and leaves a sod of 
grass unturned hetween the fur- 
TowQ^ the plough is said bj the 

Welsh ploughman speaking Welsh, 

' See the map of a portion of 
the Purwell field 

The Hitchin Open Fields. 6 

duty as the headland giving access to the strips in the Oe^/l 
other. In either case all the owners of the strips in a 
fiirlong have the right to turn their plough upon the 
headland, and thus the owner of the headland must 
wait UAtil all the other strips are ploughed before he 
can plough his own. The Latin term for the headland 
is ^forera ; ' the Welsh, ^pen tir ; ' the Scotch, ' head- 
rig ; ' and the German (from the turning of the plough 
upon it), ' anwende' 

A less universal but equally peculiar feature of Lynch«i, 
the open field system in hilly districts is the ^ lynch,' 
and it may often be observed remaining when every 
other trace of an open field has been removed by 
enclosure. Its right of survival hes in its indestructi- 
bility. When a hill-side formed part of the open 
field the strips almost always were made to run, not up 
and down the hill, but horizontally along it ; and 
in ploughing, the custom for ages was always to 
turn the sod of the furrow downhill, the plough 
consequently always returning one way idle. If the 
whole hill-side were ploughed in one field, this would 
result in a gradual travelling of the soil from the top 
to the bottom of the field, and it might not be noticed. 
But as in the open field system the hill-side was 
ploughed in strips with unploughed balks between 
them, no sod could pass in the ploughing from one 
strip to the next ; but the process of moving the sod 
downwards would go on age after age just the same 
within each individual strip. In other words, every 
year's ploughing took a sod fi'om the higher edge of 
the strip and put it on the lower edge ; and the result 
was that the strips became in time long level terraces 
one above the other, and the balks between them 

6 The English Village Community, 

0»^»L grew into steep rough banks of long grass covered 
often with natural self-sown brambles and bushes. 
These banks between the plough-made terraces are 
generally called lynches^ or linces ; and the word is 
often appUed to the terraced strips themselves, which 
go by the name of ' the linces.' ^ 

Bsttt. Where the strips abruptly meet others, or abut 

upon a boundary at right angles, they are sometimes 
called butts. 

Two other small details marking the open field 
system require only to be simply mentioned. 

€><>wd Corners of the fields which, from their shape, could 
not be cut up into the usual acre or half-acre strips, 
were sometimes divided into tapering strips pointed 
at one end, and called ' gores,' or ' gored acres/ In 
other cases little odds and ends of unused land re- 
mained, which from time immemorial were caUed ' no 

iIS^°'* man's land,' or ' any one's land,' or * Jack's land,' as 
the case might be. 

Thus there are plenty of outward marks and 
traits by which the open common field may be recog- 
nised wherever it occurs, — ^the acre or half-acre 

^ Striking examples of these 
lynches may be seen from the rail- 
road at Luton in Bedfordshire, and 
between Cambridge and Hitchin, 
as well as in various other parts of 
England. Tliey may be seen often 
on the steep sides of the Sussex 
Downs and the Cliiltem Hills. 
Great numbers of them are to be 
noticed from the French line be- 
tween Calais and Paris. lu some 
cases on the steep chalk downs, ter- 

races for ploughing have evidently ways, to the great saving of time. 

been artificially cut; but even in 
these cases there must always have 
been a gradual natural growth of 
the lynches by annual accretion from 
the ploughing. In old times, in 
order to t»ecure the turning of the 
sod downhill, the plough, after cut- 
ting a furrow, returned as stated 
one wav idle ; but in more recent 
times a plough called a ' turn-wriBt ' 
plough ' came into use, which by re* 
versing its share could be used both 

' The Hitchin Open Fields. 7 

strips or selumes^ the gored shape of some of them, Ouap. l 
the balks and sometimes lynches between them, the 
shots or furlongs {qaarerUenasi) in which they lie in 
groups, the headlands which give access to the 
strips when they lie off the field-ways, the butts, and 
lastly the odds and ends of ' no man's land.' 



Passing from these little outward marks to the 8c«tt«red 
matter of ownership, a most inconvenient peculiarity mixed 
presents itself, which is by far the most remarkable ^^"^p* 
and important feature of the open field system wher- 
ever it is found. It is the fact that neither the strips 
nor the furlongs represented a complete holding or 
property, but that the several holdings were made up 
o f a m ultitude of strips scattered about on all sides of 
the township, one in this furlong and another in that, 
intermixed, and it might almost be said entangled 
together, as though some one blindfold had thrown 
them about on all sides of him. 

The extent to which this was the case in the 
Hitchin common fields, even so late as the b^inning 
of the present century, will be realised by reference 
to the map. annexed. It is a reduced tracing of a 
map showing the ownership of the strips in one divi- 
sion of the open fields of Hitchin called the Punoell 
field. The strips are numbered, and correspond with 
the owners' names given in the tally at the side. 
The strips belonging to two of the owners are also 
coloured, so as at once to catch the eye, and the area 
of each separate piece is marked upon it. The num- 

8 The English Village Community. 

Cmap. l ber of scattered pieces held by each owner is also 
given in the note below ; and as the map embraces 
only about one-third of the Hitchin fields, it should be 
noticed that each owner probably held in the parish 
three times as many separate pieces as are there 
described ! ^ Further, at the side of the map of the 
Hitchin township, is a reduced tracing of a plan of 
the estate of a single landowner in the townfields of 
Hitchin, which shows very clearly the curious scatter- 
ing of the strips in a single ownership all over the 
fidds, notwithstanding that the tendency towards 
consolidation of the holdings by exchanges and pur- 
chases had evidently made some progress. 


The next fact to be noted is that under the 
English system the open fields were the common 
fields — the arable land — of a village community or 
township under a manorial lordship. This could 
hardly be more clearly illustrated than by the Hitchin 

1 The number of paieelB 

held by 

each owner was as foUows: — 







Owaar Fftroals 

Nal . 

. 88 

No. 14 . 

. 6 

No. 27. 

. 1 

No.89. . 1 


. 86 

16 . 

. 8 



40. . 1 


. 28 

16 . 

. 7 


. 1 

41. . 6 


. 26 

17 . 

. 2 


. 8 

42. . 8 


. 8 

18 . 



. 2 

48. . 2 


. 8 




. 1 

44. . 1 


. 4 

20 . 

. 1 


. 8 

46. . 1 


. 28 

21 . 

. 8 


. 6 

46. . 2 


. 6 

22 . 

. 1 


. 4 

47. . 7 


. ] 

2S . 

. 4 


. 1 

48. . 1 


. 10 

24 . 



. 2 


. 2 

26 . 



. 2 

Total 289 


. 6 

26 . 

. 1 

The Hitchin Open Fields. 


The Hitchin manor was, as already stated, a royal Oeas. i. 
manor. The Court Leet and View of Frankpledge 
were held concurrently with the Court Baron of the 
manor. Periodically at this joint court a record was Penodieai 
made on the presentment of the jurors and homage ^S!S!tdr 
of various particulars relating to both the manor ^^^^^^ 

and township. homage of 


The record for the year 1819 will be found at 
length in Appendix A, and it may be taken as a com- 
mon form. 

The jurors and homage first present that the manor 
comprises the township of Hitchin and hamlet of 
Walsworth, and includes within it three lesser manors ; 
also that it extends into other hamlets and parishes. 

They then record the boundaries of the township ^^^ . . 
(including the hamlet of Walsworth) as follows, viz. : — 

* From Orton Head to Biirford Raj, 

and from thenoe to a Water Mill called Hide Milli 

„ VTiUbeny Hilla, 
„ a place called Boasendell, 
„ a Water MiU called Parwell MU, 
f, a Brook or River called IppoIlitt*B Brook, 
„ Maydencroft Lane, 
,, a place called WeUkead, 
„ a place called Stubborn Bash, 
„ a place called Offlej Cross, 
„ flTC Borougb HillB [F^e Barrows], 
back to Orton Head, where the boimdariea 





















The form in which these boundaries are given is 
of great antiquity. It is a form used by the Bomans 
two thousand years ago, and almost continuously 
followed from that time to this.^ Its importance for 

* Sjfgmus de Cimdicwmbm Agrih 
rum. DU Sehr^tem der JRdnmchen 
(Laehmann, &c.), i. p. 

114. ' Nam invenimns 8»pe in pub- 
lids instrumentis significanter in« 
scripta tenitoria, ita ut ex coHiculo 

10 The English Village Community. 

c«^- 1- the purpose in hand will be manifest as the inquiry 

Theoonrti. The jurisdiction of the Court Leet and View of 
Frankpledge is recorded to extend within the fore- 
going boundaries, i.e. over the township, that of the 
Court Baron beyond them over the whole manor, 
which was more extensive than the township. The 
Court Leet is therefore the Court of the township, 
the Court Baron that of the manor. 

It is then stated that in the Court Leet at Michael- 
mas the jurors of the king elect and present to the 
lord — 
The offl- Two constables, 

^•^ Six headboroughs (two for each of the three 


Two ale-conners, 

Two leather-searchers and sealers, and 

A bellman, who is also the watchman and crier of 
the town. 

All the foregoing presentments have reference to 
the township, and are those of * the jurors of our 
lord the King {i.e. of the Court Leet), and the homage 
of the Court ' [Baron] of the manor. 
Baiiefo. Then come presentments of the homage of the 

Court of the Manor alone, describing the reliefe of free- 
holders and the fines, &c., of copyholders under the 
manor, and various particulars as to powers of leasing, 

qui appdlatur iUe adflumen iUud, et 
super Jbimen iUud ad rivum iBum out 
viam illamt et per warn illam ad in* 
fima montis illius, qui locus qppel* 
iatur ille, et inde perjugum montis 
alius in summum, et super summum 
montis per diverffia aqua ad locum, 

qui appeHatur ille, et inde deorsum 
versus ad locum ilium, et inde ad 
compitum illius, et inde per monu* 
mentum illius, ad locum unde pri- 
mum cospit scriptura esse* See as 
an early example, ' Sententia Minu- 
ciorum/ Corpus Inscript. Lot. i. 199* 

The Hitchin Open Fields. 



forfeiture, cutting timber, heriots, &c. ; the freedom Chap. i. 
of grain from toll in the market, the provision by the 
lord of the common pound and the stocks for the use Po^nd 
of the tenants of the manor, and the right of the 
lord with the consent of the homage to grant out 
portions of the waste by copy of court roll at a rent 
and the customary services. 

Next the commons are described. 

(1) The portions coloured dark green on the map Owen 
are described as G-reen Commons^ and those coloured i^^^T* 
light green as Lammas Meadows ; ^ and every occupier 
of an ancient messuage or cottage in the township 
has certain defined rights of common thereon, the 
obligation to find the common bull falling upon the 
rectory, and a common herdsman being elected by 
the homage at a Court Baron. 

(2) The common fields are stated to be — 

fPurwell field, 
(Welshman's croft, 
jBurford field, 
ISpital field, 
JMoremead field, 
iBury field ; 

and it is recorded that these common fields have 
immemorially been, and ought to be, kept and culti- 
vated in three successive seasons of tilth grain^ etch The three 
grain^ and fallow : Purwell field and Welshman's rotation of 
croft being fallow one year ; Burford field and Spital ^^* 
field the next year ; Moremead field and Bury field 
the year after, and so on in r^ular rotation. 


* The lammaa meadows are 
divided into strips like the arable 

land for the purpose of the bay 

12 The English Village Community. 

Chap. I. It is stated that every occupier of unenclosed land 

Q^;^^ in any of the common fields of the township may pas- 
tSf^c^wn*' *^^^ ^ sheep over the rest of the field after the 
^^^" com is cut and carried, and when it is fallow. If 
ofop. he choose to enclose his own portion of the com- 
mon field he may do so, but he then gives up 
for ever his right of pasture over the rest. It is 
under this custom that the strips and balks are gradu- 
ally disappearing. 
Himiet. The ancient messuages and cottages in the hamlet 

of Walsworth had their separate green common and 
herdsman, but (at this date) no common fields, be- 
cause they had already been some time ago enclosed. 
It will be seen from the map how very small a 
proportion of the land of the township was in meadow 
or pasture. The open arable fields occupied nearly 
the whole of it. The community to which it be- 
longed, and to whose wants it was fitted, was evi- 
dently a community occupied mainly in agriculture. 
CopyhoWs .- -> Another feature requiring notice was the fact that 
holds (in the open fields freehold and copyhold land were 
Sized. \ intermixed ; some of the strips being freehold, whilst 
.the next strip was copyhold, instead of all the free- 
-Jiold and all the copyhold lying together. And in 
the same way the lands belonging to the three lesser 
or sub-manors lay intermixed, and not all apart by 
themselves. The open field system overrode the 

Thus, if the Hitchin example may be taken as a 
typical one of the English open field system, it may 
be regarded generally as having belonged to a village 
or township under a manor. We may assume that the 
holdings were composed of numbers of strips scattered 

The Hitchin Open Fields. 13 

over the three open fields ; and that the husbandry Chap, l 
was controlled by those rules as to rotation of crops 
and fallow in three seasons which marked the three- 
field system, and secured uniformity of tillage 
throughout each field. Lastly, whilst fallow after 
the crop was gathered, the open fields were pro- 
bably everywhere subject to the common rights of 
pasture. The sheep of the whole township wandered 
and pastured all over the strips and balks of its 
fields, while the cows of the township were daily 
driven by a common herdsman to the green com- 
mons, or, after Lammas Day, when the hay crop of 
the owners was secured, to the lammas meadows. 



But before the attempt is made to trace back the 
system, it may be well to ask what evidence there is 
as to its wide prevalence in England, and with what 
reason the particular example of the Hitchin town- 
ship may be taken as generally typical. 

In the first place, an examination into the details Endosure 
an Enclosure Act will make clear the point that ^^^^ 
stem as above^ gscr^be^ is the system which 
it was the jaliifisijjftba^closiire Acts to remove. 
They 'we^;^ generaUy drawn"^' iheli^^TS^c'^m- 
mencing with jhejcecit ^ that t he opened common 
V fields lie dispersed in small pieces intermixed with 
each other and inconyeniciI]E5^rtuatea7 that divers 

(pei5OTi''l)iwfi'parts of them, and are entitled to rights 
of common on them, so that in their present state 
they are incapable of improvement, and that it is 



The English Village Community. 

Chap.l desired that they may be divided and enclosed, a 
^specific share being set out and allowed to each 
owner. For this purpose Enclosure Commissioners 
^are appointed, and under their award the balks are 
ploughed up, the fields divided into blocks for the 
several owners, hedges planted, and the 'idxple face of 
tl^e country changed. 

The common fields of twenty-two parishes within 
ten miles of Hitchin were enclosed in this way be- 
tween 1766 and 1832. All the Acts were of the 
Number of (same character.^ And as, taking the whole of Eng- 
/land, with, roughly speaking, its 10 ,000 p arishes, 
^nearlj^4,000 Enclosure Acts were passed between 1760 

^ Theae Enclosure Acts "were as follows : — 

Date of £ncl06iir« 








Names of Parishes whose open fidds were 
tiiereby encIoMd 

Hexton [Hertsl. 
Henlow TBedst. 
Norton [HertsjL 
OamptoD-cum-Shefford [Beds]. 
King's Walden [Herts]. 
Weston [Herts]! 
Hinzworth [Herts]. 
( Shitlinpfton [Beds]. 

Arlsey [Beds]. 

Offley [Hertsl. 

Luton [Beds]. 

Barton-in-the-Clay [Beds], 

Codicote [Herts]. 

Welwyn [HertsJ. 

Knebwortli [HertsJ. 

Pirton [Herts]. 

i Great Wymondley [Herts]. 
Little Wymondley [Herts]. 
IppoUittM [Herts]. 
I^ngford I Beds]. 
Clifton [Beds]. 

The Hitchin Open Fields. 15 

ajjd.1844,^ it will at once be understood how gene- Chap, l 
rally prevalent was this form of the open field system 
sojate ^ Jhe^dajsi>f Jdb^ Jthis gene- 


The old * Statistical Account of Scotland/ ob- 

^ed eighty years ago by inquiry in every parish, 

dhows that at its date, under the name of ^ run;;^ng/ 

/a simpler form of the open field system still lingered 

'on here and there more or less all over Scotland, wide ex- 

tent of 

Traces of it still exist in the Highlands, and there open field 
are weU-known remains of its strips and balks also ^^"^ 

in Wales. T^q run -rig aygtem is still ^prevalent in 
somg^ pgts of Ireland. But at present we confine 
our attention to the form which the system assumed 
in England, and for this purpose the Hitchin example 
may fairly be taken as typical. 

Now, judged from a modem point of view, it will 
readily be understood that the open field system, and 
[^Specially its peculiarity of straggjjng or^catter.ed 
ow nersh ip, regarded from a modem agricultural point ^?^f ^ 
of view, was al2aurdlju4i]^ecaQomical. The waste of 
time in getting about from one part of a farm to 
/another; the uselessness of one owner attempting 
/ to clean his own land when it could be sown with 
thistles from the seed blown from the neighbouring 
strips of a less carefiil and thrifty owner; the 
quarrelling about headlands and rights of way, or 

* yprter^B Prcgrew 


the Nation, p, 


^m^^rT T 

. 385'"^' 

/ 1820-29. 

. 206 

/1770-79 . 

. 660 

L188O-39 . 

. 136 


. 246 


. 66 

/ 1790-99 . 

. 469 

71800-9 . 

. 847 


( 1810-19 

. 858 

16 The English Village Community. 

OBkr,i. paths made without right; the constant encroach- 
ments of unscrupulous or overbearing holders upon the 
balks — all this made the system so inconvenient, that 
^Arthur Young, coming across it in France, could 
/hardly keep his temper as he described with what 
S perverse ingenuity it seemed to be contrived as 
Sthough purposely to make agriculture as awkward 
(And uneconomical as possible, 
batmiut But these now inconvenient traits of the open 

mM^ field system must once have had a meaning, a 
^^ use, and even a convenience which were the cause of 
their original arrangement. Like the apparently 
meaningless sentinel described by Prince Bismarck 
uselessly pacing up and down the middle of a lawn in 
the garden of the Russian palace, there must have been 
an originally sufficient reason to account for the 
beginning of what is now useless and absurd. And 
just as in that case, search in the military archives dis- 
closed that once upon a time, in the days of Catherine 
the Great, a solitary snowdrop had appeared on the 
lawn, to guard which a sentinel was posted by an 
order which had never been revoked ; so a similar 
search will doubtless disclose an ancient original 
reason for even the (at first sight) most unreasonable 
features of the open field system. 




That this open field system, the remains of which ohaf. ii. 
have now been examined, was identical with that which 
existed in the Middle Ages might easily be proved 
by a continuous chain of examples. But it will be 
enough for the present purpose to pick out a few 
typical instances, using them as stepping-stones. 

It would be easy to quote Tusser's description of Tussot. 

* Champion Farming ' in the sixteenth century. In 

(his *Five Hundred Points of Good Husbandry' he 

aescribes the respective merits of * several,' and 

' champion/ or op eafield farming. But as he describes 

Ahe latter as a system already out of date in his time, 

I and as rapidly giving way to the jmore economical 

system of * several ' or enclosed fields, we may pass 

on at once to evidence another couple of centuries 

earlier in date. 


18 The English Village Community. 

Chap. u. Of the fact that the open field system 500 years 
ago (in the fourteenth century), with its divisions into 
furlongs and subdivision into acre or half-acre strips, 
existed in England, the * Vision of Piers the Plowman ' 
may be appealed to as a witness. 
Piew the What was *jhe faire felde ful of folke,' in which 

«, the poet saw *alle maner of men' *worchyng and 

.wib'd?^,* some *putten hem to the plow,' whilst 
vOthers *in settyng and in sowyng swonken ful harde '?^ 
A modern English field shut in by hedges would not 
suit the vision in the least. It was clearly enough 
the open field into which all the villagers turned 
out on the bright spring morning, and over which 
they would be scattered, some working and some 
looking on. In no other * faire felde ' would he see 
such folk of all sorts, the ' [husjbondemen,* bakers 
and brewers, butchers, woolwebsters and weavers of 
linen, tailors, tinkers, and tollers in market, masons, 
dikers, and delvers ; while the cooks cried • Hote pies 
hote ! ' and tavern-keepers set in competition their 
wines and roast meat at the alehouse.' 

Then as to the division of the fields into furlongs ; 
remembering that the wide balks between them and 
along the headlands were often covered with * brakes 
and brambles,' the point is at once settled by the 
naive confession of the priest who scarce knew per- 
fectly his Paternoster, and could * ne solfe ne synge * 

* ne sejrntes lyues rede,' yet knew well enough the 

* rymes of Eobyn hood,' and how to * fynde an hare 
in di fourlonge.^ ^ 

> Frologuif lines 17 to 21. ' Prdogus, 216 to end. 

* Pa99iu, T. 400 to 428. 

Earlier Traces. 19 

Further, a chance indication that the furlongs Chap. ii, 
were divided into half-acre strips occurs most natu- 
rally in that part of the story where tJiaJglk^ in Jhe 
fair field ^ck o f priests^an d parsons and^Qt her fa lse 
gijida^j^^g^ej^tTa^^ and beg 

him to show them th^^ way to truth ; and he replies 
'that he must first jplow and sow his * half-acre : * 

I have an half acre to erye * bi the heighe way: 
Hadde I eried this half acre ' and Bowen it after, 
I wolde wende with you * and the way teche.* 

And if there should remain a shadow of doubt 
wh§^er i^r&'Jbalf-4cre must necessarily have been 
one of the strips betweexi^^the Ijalks into which the 
furlongs were divided, even this is cleared up by the 
perfect little picture which follows of the folk in the 
field helping him to plow it. For in its unconscious 
truthfulness of graphic detaU, after saying,- 

Now is perkyn and his pilgrymes * to the plowe faren : 
To eiie his haloe acre * holpyn hym manye, 

the very first lines in the Hst of services rendered 
explain that — 

Dikeres and delueres • digged up th e balk^« ^ 

This incidental evidence of * Piers the Plowman * is J®"?^i^ 


fully borne out by a manuscript terrier of one of the open fieUs 
open fields near Cambridge, belonging to tfie later fourteenth 
^ years of the fourteenth or beginning of the fifteenth ^^^'^^' 
century.^ It gives the names of the owners and 
occupiers of jdl the seliones or strips. They are 

^ PastuSy tL 4 to 6. 
« Pamu, yi. 107-9. 
* I am indehted to Mr. Brad- 

shaw for having called my attention 
to this MS., which is now in the 
Cambridge University Library. 


20 The English Village Community. 

CwLP.n. divided by balks of turf. They lie in furlongs or 
qtiarentencB. They have frequently headlands or 
forercB. Some of the strips are gored, and called 
gored cures. Many of them are described as biMs. 
Indeed, were it not that the country round Cam- 
bridge being flat there are no lynches^ almost every 
one of the features of the system is distinctly visible 
in this terrier. 
The ,-. But this terrier also contains evidence that the 
SnMdy / system was even then in a state of decay and disin- 
^°*' Integration. The balks were disappearing, and the 
strips, though still remembered as strips, were becom- 
ing merged in larger portions, so that they lie thrown 
together sine balca. The mention is frequent of iii. 
seUones which used to be v., ii. which used to be 
iv., iii. which used to be viii., and so on. Evidently 
the meaning and use of the half-acre strips are already 

It will be well, therefore, to take another leap, and 
at once to pass behind the Black Death — that great 
- watershed in economic history — so as to examine the 
details of the system before rather than after it had 
sustained the tremendous shock which the death in 
one year of half the population may well have given 
to it. 
Winiiow A remarkably excellent opportunity for inquiry is 

J^^ /Resented by a complete set of manor rolls during 
fid- 1^- Ljte reign of Edward HI. for the Manor of Winslow in 
Buckinghamshire, preserved in the Cambridge Uni- 
versity Library.^ 

* BIS. Dd. 7. 22. I am much indebted to Mr. Bradshaw for the loan 
of this MS. firom the Ldbraty. 

Earlier Traces. 21 

No evidence could possibly be more to the pur- 
pose. Belonging to the^ AbbejjofSt. Albans, the rolls 
were kept with scrupulous accuracy and care. Every 
change of ownership during the long reign of Edward 
in. is recorded in regular form ; and the year 
1348-9 — the year of the Black Death— occurring in 
the course of this reign, and occasioning more changes 
of ownership than usual, the MS. presents, if one may 
appropriate a geological expression, something like 
an economic section of the manor, reveaUng with un- 
usual clearness the various economic strata in which 
its holdings were arranged. 

Before examining these holdings it is needful only 25V^***" 
to state that here, as in the later examples, the fields 
of the manor are o pen fiel ds,_diyided into furlongs, 
which in their turn are m3d£LJi£.,with_jpparenti^ 

lost ^bsolute^ reg ularity of half-acre strips. When- 
ever (with very rare exceptions) a change of owner- 
ship takes place, and the contents of the holding are 
described, they turn out to be made up of half-acre 
pieces, or sehones, scattered all over the fields. 

The typical entry on these rolls in such cases is Haif-aez« 
that A. B. surrenders to the lord, or has died holding, *^*^ 
a messuage and so many acres of land, of which a 
half-acre lies in such and such a field, and often in 
such and such a furlong, between land of C. D. and 
E. F., another half-acre somewhere else between two 
other persons' land, another half-acre somewhere 
else, and so on. K the holding be of 1^ acres it is 
found to be in 3 half-acre pieces, if of 4 acres, in 8 
half-acre pieces, and so on, scattered over the fields. 
Sometimes amongst the half-acres are mentioned still 
smaller portions, roods and even half-roods or doles 


T%e English Village Community. 

Chap. n. (chiefly of pasture or meadow land), belonging to the 
holdings, but the division into half-acre strips was 
clearly the rule. 

There can be no doubt, therefore, of the identity 
of the system seen at work in these manor rolls with 
that of which some of the dibria may still be exa- 
mined in unenclosed parishes to-day. 





Starting with the fact that the fields of the manor 
of Winslow and its hamlets ^ were open fields divided 
into furlongs and half-acre strips, the chief object of 
inquiry will be the nature of the holdings of its 
various classes of tenants. 

In the first place the land of the manor was 
divided, like that of almost all other manors, into two 
distinct parts — land in the lord's demesne^ and land in 

The land in demesne may be described as the 
home farm of the lord of the manor, including such 
portions of it as he may have chosen to let off to 
tenants for longer or shorter terms, and at money 
rents in free tenure. 

The land in villenage is also in the occupation of 
tenants, but it is held in villenage, at the will of the 
lord, and at customary services. It lies in open fields. 
These are divided into three seasons, according to the 

1 The MS. 18 headed <£xtracta 
Botulonim de Halimotis tentis apod 
Manerium de WjDselowe tempore 
Edwardi tercii a Oon uestu * and it 

embraced Wynselowe^ fforelwode, 
OrenebuTffhf Shiptcn, Nova ViUa de 
WynselowBy Onyng, and Miuton, 

The Winahw Manor RoUa. 23 

three-field system. There is a west field, east fields Chap. ii 
and south Jield. The demesne land lies also in these Threefold 
three fields,^ probably more or less intermixed, as in *^ 
many cases, with the strips in villenage, but some- 
times in separate furlongs or shots from the latter. 

Throughout the pages of the manor rolls, in record- 
ig transf^sof hql^ngg in villenage, the common 
form is alwa^saSnered to of a surrender by the old 
^tenant to the lord, and a re-grant of the holding to 
;he new tenant, to be held by him at the will of the 
jord in villenage at the usual services. Where the 
change of holding occurs on the death of a tenant, the 
common form recites that the holding has reverted to 
the lord, who re-grants it to the new tenant as before 
in villenage. 

Further examination at once discloses a marked 
difference in kind between some classes of holdings 
in villenage and others. 

In some cases the holding handed over is simply viigatM 
described by the one comprehensive word ^virgata viigatos," 
(the Latin equivalent for * yard-land '), without any 
further description. The * virgate ' of A. B. is trans- 
ferred to C. D. in one lump ; i.e. the holding is an 
indivisible whole, evidently so well known as to need 
no description of its contents. 

In other cases the holding is in the same way 
described as a ^ half-virgate,' without any details being 
needful as to its contents. 

But in the case of all other holdings the contents 
are described in detail half-acre by half-acre, each 
half-acre being identified by the names of the holders 

t See eiita7 under 44 Ed. III. 


T'he English Village Community. 

Chap. u. of the Strips on either side of it. They vary in size 
from one half-acre to 8 or 10 or 12 half-acres, and in 
a few cases more. The greater number of them are, 
however, evidently the holdings of small cottier 
tenants. A few cases occur, but only a few, where 
a messuage is held without land. 
What IB a But the question of interest is what may be the 
jSS^ian^? nature of the holdings called virgates and half-vir- 
gates — these well-known bundles of land, which, as 
already said, need no description of their contents. 
Fortunately in one single case a virgate or yard-land 
— that of John Moldeson — loses its indivisible unity 
and is let out again by the lord to several persons in 
portions. These being new holdings, and no longer 
making up a virgate, it became needful to describe 
their contents on the rolls.^ Thus the details of which 
a virgate was made up are accidentally exposed to view. 
Putting the broken pieces of it together, this vir- 
gate of John Moldeson is found to have consisted of 
a messuage in the village of Shipton, in the manor of 
Winslow, and the following half-acre strips of land 
scattered all over the open fields of the manor. "" 

of John 

Where mtuaUd, 

■ere in dm/forUmg, 

acre in Brmreforlang, 

acre at AaMmanUmd by the king's 

highway (juzta regiam yiam). 
acre at LoftJuim, 
acre at le Wawes. 
acre at MuMpeyrfurUmg, 
acre above U Siumie. 
acre in le SnouthiUe, 
acre aboTe LiverekuUe, 
acre above Narewe-dldemed, 

Bettoeen the Land of 

John Boveton and WUlinmJonyngeB, 
Bichard Lif and John Mayn. 

John Watekyne and John Mayn, 
John Hikkes and Henry Warde. 
Henry Warde and John Watekyne 
John Watekyne and John Mayn, 
John Watekyne and Henry Warde, 
John Watekyne and Henry Warde, 
John Watekyne and Henry Warde, 

' Sub anno 85 Ed. UL 

The Winslow Manor Soils. 


Witr* mtHottd. 
acn in fi^peoitJInw. 
men in Waterforoagh. 
Tooda below Chirctutiagh. 
■en kt Fyi^airei. 
ten *X Shfrdeforlong. 
Bcre at 7%«riM;. 
■era <of pMtare) is /InAoMM- 

■ere (of paatora) in tlirae pareela. 
men (of pasture) below Eitattt~ 

■era (of paature) at . 

aem (of meadow) at RUtkvmedt. 

doles <of meadow) in SkroMtkUt. 

■en below It KmnUe. 

acn abore Brodetddemade. 

Bcn abore BrodrUmgtiimdf. 

acre at MtritaiU. 

mm above LangebenthuUtsdrat. 

aen above Seggexlonforttf. 

acn at Ctm/forde. 

acn at Nartoelimylonde. 

aen at Wodmcey. 

aen £nuf Aeitiyjtrc'f. 

acre Baulheahygtrett. 

ten »t Limgtdc. 

acnat XoiM. 

acn at b JTMoOa. 

■en above .SnMiuiIdtnwA. 

acre at SitorUIo. 

acre at fZisJIrym. 

acre above Lta^tblakgrore. 

aen st 2rtaitep«tfu. 

aen nhove Medeforlong. 

acn at fc Thom. 

aCK above OaerHteltotide, 

acn above fa Brotkhtttlotuk. 

acn above OMrUulbmda. 

•en above MtdeforUmg. 

acn at b 7%om. 

acn at Boggtdoi^orda. 

aen above JBldeieyei. 

aere above Ook^ndl. 

Chap. IL 

JBttwmt fJtt Ltmd of — 

/oAa fOihw and JoAn fotMpnwt. ^^ 

/«iAn ^ofai^fM and /u/in Mayn. jaid-land 

■Ma FataAyM and ifmry ^onje. (^ John 

Jelm WaUkfM and J.jh« May». "'" 
John WaM^ and ITmry Wartle. 
John Watd^tittBi Hatry Ward*. 
John Watd^ and Henry Werik. 


Jektt WaUkytu and Stnry Warit, 
John Watekynt and ifmry Wardt. 
John WaUkyn* and JSmry Warde. 
John WaUkynt and ^«iiry Ward*. 
John Watel^/m and JoAn Mayn. 
John Watth/n» and i/bAn Mayn. 
John WaUhynt and Henry Ward*. 
John Watdcyiu and Htnry Ward*. 
John Wattkyni and Amry Warde. 
John Watdcyn* and JoAn Mayn. 
John Watdtyn* and lleniy Wnrde. 
John Wattkynt and tTii/m Mayn. 
WUham Jonynfot and Henry B^ 

John Wattkynt and JbAn Jfi^N, 
John Waltkyn$ and iTeAn Mayn, 
John Wattkynt and JTmry H^arda. 
J<An Wattkynt and Henry Ward*. 
John Wattkynt and A/;n Mayn. 
John Watdcynt and J/rnry n'orv/r. 
Jokn Wattkyni nud JuAii Jnntkyne. 
John Wattkynt and Ilfrtiy Warde. 
John Waltkyn* and JtiAn Mayn. 
John Watekynt ad Htnry Ward*. 
John WatOeynt and Henry Warde. 
John Wattkynt and Jokn Mayn. 
John Wattkynt and Henry Ward*. 
John Wattkynt and Jokn Mayn. 
John Wattkynt and Htnry Warde. 
John Wattkynt and Htnry Warde. 
John Wattkynt and Henry Warde. 
John Wattkyni tni Henry Warde. 
John Wattkynt and John Mayn. 


The English Village Community. 

Chap. II. 

Where fkvLoted, 

acre at Brodefamham, 
acre at Lange/amKofn. 
acre above FamhamMie, 

acre at HoweahamtM. 
acre at 8tony$ticch, 
acre at Coppedemore. 
acre at BrerebtUtes, 
acre at WodeforUmge, 
acre at iVrf0ir6y«. 
acre at LitdfenhtUle, 

acre at MicMUUakegrove, 

acre at LUMakegrofve, 

acre at Brodereten, 

acre at Brodditddon, 

acre at Stoteford. 

acre at Broddangdcnde* 

acre above LkelbeUsden, 

acre in Afiamane«^aiu28. 

acre at LitelpeUaere, 

rood in ^ Trendd, 

acre at Merslade, 

acre at Merdade. 

acre at BrodditeUonde, 

acre below /(0 Knoile, 

acre above ^ Brodealdemede, 

Between the Ltmd of 

John Watekyne 
John Watekyne 
Henry Boveton 

John Watekyns 
John Watekyns 
John Watekyns 
John Watekyns 
John Watekyns 
John Watekyns 
Henry Boveton 

John Watekyns 
John Watekyns 
John Watekyns 
John Watekyns 
John Watekyns 
John Watekyns 
John Watekyns 
John Watekyns 
John Watekyns 
John Watekyns 
John Watekyns 
John Watekyns 
John Watekyns 
John Watekyns 
John Watekyns 

and Henry Warde. 

hnd Henry Warde. 

and Richard Attt 

and Henry Warde. 
and Henry Warde, 
and Henry Warde, 
and Henry Warde, 
and John Mayn. 
and John Mayn, 
and Matthew attt 

Knd Henry Warde, 
and Henry Warde, 
and John Mayn, 
and John Mayn. 
and John Mayn. 
and John Mayn. 
and John Mayn, 
and Henry Warde, 
and Henry Warde, 
and Henry Warde, 
and Henry Warde, 
and Henry Warde. 
and Henry Warde. 
and Henry Warde, 
and John Mayn, 

Summary Thus the virgatc or yard-land of John Moldeson 

eoDtrata of was composed of a messuage and 


w;^- '' 68 half-acre stripe of arable land, 

8 rood stripe of arable land, 

2 doles, 

1 acre of pasture, 

8 half-acres of pasture, and 

1 half-acre of meadow, 

scattered all over the open fields in their various 

But it may be asked, how can it be proved that 
the other virgates were Uke the one virgate of John 

The Winslow Manor Rolls. 27 

Moldeson thus by chance described and exposed to Chap. ii. 
view on the manor rolls ? Is it right to assume that 
this virgate may be taken as a pattern of the rest ? The 
answer is, that in the description of its 72 half-acre 
strips the 144 neighbouring strips are incidentally in- 
volved. And as 66 of its strips had on one side of 
them 66 other strips of another tenant, viz. John 
Watekyns, and on the other side 43 of the next strips 
belonged to Henry Warde, and 23 to John Mayn, Rotation 
and 8 of the strips only had other neighbours, it is '^^:^ 
evident that thg virgatejof John Moldeson was one of a ^^* '^"p*- 
. system of simUar virgates formed of scattered half-acre 
V strips, arranged in a certain regular order of rotation, 
in which John Moldeson came 66 times next to John 
Watekyns, and two other neighbours followed him, 
one 43 and the other 23 times, in similar succession. 

[r ' Thus the Winslow virgates were intermixed, and a virgate 
each was a holding of a messuage in the village^ and unduf » 
between 30 and 40 modem acres of land, not con- oS°*^*^a' 
^ ' 30 or 40 

tiguous, but scattered in half -acre pieces all over the *«•• ^ 
common fiel ds. The half- virgate consisted in the same acre or 
way of a messuage in the village with half as many rtripT" 
strips scattered over the same fields. The intermixed 
ownership complained of in the Inclosure Acts, and 
surviving in the Hitchin maps, need no longer sur- 
prise us. 

We know now what a virgata^r jcard-land w:aj3. The 
We shall find that its normal area was 30 scattered vS^SJe 
acres — 10 acres in each of the three fields. Using ^^^ 
again the map of the Hitchin fields, we may mark 
upon it the contents of a normal virgate by way of 
impressing upon the eye the nature of this peculiar 
holding. It must always be remembered that when 


The English ViUage Community. 

Chap. n. the fields were divided into half-acres instead of acres 
the number of its scattered strips would be doubled. 
It is not possible to ascertain from a mere record 
of the changes in the holdings precisely how many of 
these virgates and half-virgates there were in the 
manor of Winslow. But in the year of the Black 
Death it may be assumed that the mortality fell with 
something like equahty upon all classes of tenants, 
163 changes of holding from the death of previous 
holders being recorded in 1348-9. Out of these, 
28 were holders of virgates and 14 of half-virgates. 
The virgates and half-virgates of these holders who 
died of the Black Death must have included more 
than 2,400 half-acre strips in the open fields ; and add- 
ing up the contents of the other holdings of tenants 

^o-thirds ^ho died that year, it would seem that about two- 

01 tn6 lAnd , *' 

held in vir-/ thirds of the wholc area which changed hands in 

tea and 


They are 
held ID 

^/hat memorable year were included in the virgates 
and half-virgates. It may be inferred, therefore, that 
about the same proportion of the whole area of the 
^open fields must have been included in the virgates 
'and half-virgates whose holders died or survived. 
Clearly, then, the mass of the land in the open fields 
was heldin these two grades of holdings.^ 

Thus much, then, may be leafned from the Win- 
slow manor rolls with respect to the virgates and half- 
virgates. Not only were they holdings each com- 
posed of a messuage and the scattered strips belonging 
to it in the open fields, not only did they form the 

* The number of tenants with 
smaller holdings was considerably 
larger than the number of holders of 
virgates and half-Tiigates, but their 

holdings were so small that in the 
aggregate thej held a much smaller 
acreage than the other class. 

The Wtnslow Manor Rolls. 


two chief grades of holdings with equality in each Chap. il 

grade, but also they were all aUke held in villenage. 

They were not holdings of the lord's demesne land, 

but of the land in villenage. The holders, besides 

y/their virgates and half-virgates, often, it is true, held 

*^ other land, part of the lord's demesne^ as Iree tenants 

at an annual rent. But such free holdings were no 

/part of their virgates. The virgates and half-virgates 

Vffere held in villenage. Of these they were uQt Jvee 

tenants, but vUlein tenants. So also the lesser cottage 

holdings were held in villenage. But the holders of 

virgates and half-virgates were the highest grades in 

the hierarchy of tenants in villenage. They not only 

held the greater part of the open fields in their bundles 

of scattered strips ; the rolls also show that they almost 

exclusively served as jurors in the * Halimot,' or Court 

of the Manor ; though occasionally one or two other 

villein tenants with smaller holdings were associated 

with them.^ 

It is possible that just as villein tenants could hold The TiUein 
in free tenure land in the lord's demesne, so free men * riiiani'/ 
might hold virgates in villenage and retain their per- ^^ 
sonal freedom ; but those at all events of the holders ^'•**' 
of virgates who were nativi, i.e. villeins by descent 
were adscripti glebce. They held their holdings at 
the will of the lord, and were bound to perform the 
customary services. If they allowed their houses to 

^ Oat of 43 jarymen who had 
serred in 1346, 1347, and 1348, 
27 died of the Bhusk Death in 
1348-^. Out of these 27 who died, 
and whole holdings therefore can he 
traced, 16 held yirgatea, 8 held 

half-yirgates, and of the other 3 one 
held 1 messuage and 2 cottages, 
another a messuage and 15 acres in 
villenage (equivalent to a half-vir- 
gate), and the third 8 acres araUe 
and 2^ <^ meadow. 

30 The English Village Community. 

Chap. II. get out of repair they were guilty of waste, and the 
jury were fined if they did not report the neglect.^ 

Yet the entries in the rolls prove that their hold- 
ings were hereditary, passing by the lord's re-grant 
from father to son by the rule of primogeniture, on 
payment of the customary heriot or relief.* 

Widows had dower, and widowers were tena^its by 
the curtesy J as in the case of freeholds. The holders 
in viUenage, even 'nativi,' could make wills which 
were proved before the ceUerarius of the abbey, and 
had done so time out of mind, while the wills of free 
tenants were proved at St. Albans.' 

These things all look like a certain recognition of 
freedom within the restraints of the viUenage. But 
if the ' nativi ' married without the lord's consent they 
. were fined. IS they sold an ox without licence, again 
they were fined. If they left the manor without 
licence they were searched for, and if found arrested 
*- as fugitives and brought back.* K their daughters 
lost their chastity * the lord again had his fine. And 

^ Cans of thiB are numerous 
after the Black Death. See in 27 
£d. III. one case, in 28 Edward III. 
11 cases, in 80 Ed. III. five cases. 

> AU the 153 holdings which 
changed hands on the death of the 
tenants of the Black Death were 
re-granted to the single heir of the 
deceased holder or to a reversioner, 
or in default of «uch were retained 
hy the lord. In no ease was there a 
suhdivision by inheritance. The 
heriot of a virgate was generaUj an 
ox, or money payment of its value. 
But the amount was often reduced 

times when a succeeding tenant 
could not pay, a half-acre was de- 
ducted from the virgate and held by 
the lord instead of the heriot. 

' See under 23 Ed. III. a recoid 
of the unanimous finding of the j ury 
to this effect. 

* The instances of fugitive Til- 
leins are very numerous for years 
after the Black Death ; and inquiry 
into cases of this class formed a 
prominent part of the buttness trans- 
acted at the halimotes. 

* There were 22 cases of ' Lere- 
wyt ' recorded on the manor rolls 

'propter paupertatem ; ' and some- J in the first 10 years of Edward ILL 

The Winslow Manor Rolls. ^1 

in all these cases the whole jury were fined if they Chaf. il 
neglected to report the delinquent. 

Their services were no doubt limited and defined 
by custom, and so late as the reign of Edward HI. 
mostly discharged by a money payment in Keu of the 
actual service, but they rested nominally on the will of 
the lord ; and sometimes to test their obedience the 
relaxed rein was tightened, and trivial orders were 
issued, such as that they should go ofi* to the woods 
and pick nuts for the lord.^ In case of dispute a court 
was held under the great ash tree at St. Albans, 
and the decision of this superior manorial court at 
head-quarters settled the question.* This villenage of 
[the Winslow tenants was, no doubt, in the fourteenth 
I century mild in its character ; the silent working of 
economic laws was breaking it up ; but it was villenage But their 
still. It was serfdom, but it was serfdom in the last ^^^^ 
^tages of its relaxation and decay. ^p- 

Already, anj harking back by the landlord upon 

older and stricter rules — any return, for instance, to 

the actual services instead of the money payments 

in lieu of them — produced resentment and insubordi- 

ation amongst the villein tenants. Murmurs were 

already heard in the courts, and symptoms appear 

on the rolls in the year following the Black Death 

which clearly indicate the presence of smouldering 

^gmbers very hkely soon to burst into flame.' The 

\jebdlipn. under Wat Tyler was, in fact, not far ahead. 

But in this inquiry we are looking backwards into 

earlier times, in order to learn what English serfdom 

was when fully in force, rather than in tlie days when 

> 8ee a case in 25 £d. m. > See a case of this in 6 Ed. IIL 

* See under 6 Ed. UT. 

32 The English Village Community. 

Cbap. u. it was Dreaking up. In the meantime the practical 
knowledge gained from the Winslow manor rolls, 
how a community in serfdom fitted as it were into 
the open field system as into an outer shell, and still 
more the Icnowledge of what the virgate and half-vir- 
gate in villenage really were, drawn from actual 
examples, may prove a useful key in unlocking still 
further the riddle of earlier serfdom. 



The facts thus learned from the Winslow Manor 
Bolls throw just that flash of light upon the otherwise 
dry details of the Hundred Eolls of Edward I. which 
is needful to make the picture they give in detail of 
the manors in parts of five midland counties vivid and 

Enghsh economic history is rich in its materials ; 
and of all the records of the economic condition of 
England, next to the Domesday Survey, the Hundred 
B9xrtjM of Eolls are the most important and remarkable. The 
in flTe second volume, in its 1,000 foUo pages, contains inter 
^^^TiV ^^^^ ^ ^^^® *°d clear description of every manor in a 
large district, embracing portions of Oxfordshire, Berk- 
shire, Bedfordshire, Huntingdonshire, and Cambridge- 
shire, in about the year 1279 ; and as in most cases the 
name of every tenant is recorded, with the character 
of his holding and a description of his payments and 
services, the picture of each manor has almost the 
detail and accuracy of a photograph. Turning over 
its pages, the mass of detail may at first appear con- 
fused and bewildering, and in one sense it is so, because 

The Hundred Rolls. 3S 

it relates to a system which, however simple when 
fully at work, becomes broken up and entangled 
whilst in process of disintegration. But the key to it 
once mastered, the original features of the system may 
still be recognised. Even the broken pieces fall into 
their proper places, and the general economic outlines 
of the several manors stand out sharply and clearly 

Speaking generally, in its chief economic features 
every manor is alike, as in the record itself one 
common form of survey serves for them all. Hence They ar« 
the Winslow example gives the requisite key to the wineiow 
whole. Bringing to the record the knowledge of how ^^^ 
Tthe open fields were everjrwhere divided into furlongs, 
(and acre or half-acre strips, and that virgates and 
/ half-virgates were equal bundles of strips scattered 
}all over the fields, the description of the manors in 
the Hundred EoUs becomes perfectly intelligible. 
In the first place the manor consists, as in the 
(Winslow example, of two parts — the knd in demesne 
and th e land in yillenage. 

le land in demesne consists of the home farm, 
and portions, irregular in area, let out from it to what 
are called free tenants {liber e tenentes), some of them 
being nevertheless villeins holding their portions of 
the demesne lands in free tenure at certain rents in 
addition to their regular holdings. 

The land in villenage, as in the Winslow manor, is virgatw 
held mostly in virgates and half-virgates, and below ^S^^lJi^' 
these cottiers hold smaller holdings, also in villenage. 

In describing the tenants in villenage there is first 
a statement that A. B. holds a virgate in villenage at 
such and such payments and services, which are often 


34 The English Village Community. 

Chap, il very minutely described. The money value of each 
service and the total value of them all is in many 
cases also carefully given. This description of the 
holding and services of A. B. is then followed by a list 
of persons who also each hold a virgate at the same 
services as A. B. 

Secondly, there is a similar statement in detail that 
C. D. holds a half-virgate in villenage, and that such 
and such are his payments and services, followed by 
a similar list of persons who also each hold a half- 
virgate at the same services as C. D. 
Cottier Then follows a list of the little cottier tenants, and 

their holdings and services. Amongst some of these 
cottage holdings there is equality, some are irregular, 
and some consist of a cottage and nothing else. 

These holdings are all in villenage, but, as before 
mentioned, the names of the villein tenants often 
occur again in the list of free tenants {libere tenentes) 
of portions of the lord's demesne or of recently 
reclaimed land {terra assarta). 

This may be taken as a fair description of the 

common type of manor throughout the Hundred Eolls, 

with local variations. 

With ex- ^^^ chief of these is that in many places in Cam- 

ceptionai bridgcshire and Huntingdonshire the holdings of the 

tbe manors vtUani, instead of being described as virgates and 

*" t^e! half- virgates, are described by their acreage. There 

are so many holders of 30, 20, 15, 10, or other 

number of acres each. They are not the less in 

grades, with equahty in each grade, but the holdings 

bear no distinctive name. 

There is also in these counties a class of tenants, 
partly above the villani, called sochemannij which we 


The Hundred Rolls. 35 

shall find again when we reach the Domesday Survey. Cm^. ii 
But upon exceptional local circumstances it is not 
needful to dwell here. 

The fact is, then, that in the Hundred Bolls of 
Edward I. there is disclosed over the much wider 
area of five midland counties almost precisely the 
same state of things as that which existed in the 
manor of Winslow late in the reign of Edward HI. 
That manor was under the ecclesiastical lordship of 
an abbey, but here in the Hundred BoUs the same 
state of things exists under all kinds of ownership. 
Manors of the king or the nobiUty, of abbeys, and 
of private and lesser landowners, are all substantially 
alike. In all there is the division of the manor into 
demesne land and land in villenage. In all the mass 
of the land in villenage is held in the grades of hold- 
ings mostly called virgates and half-virgates, with 
equality in each grade both as to the holding and the 
services. In all alike are found the smaller cottage 
holdings, also in villenage ; and lastly, in all alike 
there are the free tenants of larger or smaller por- 
tions of the demesne land. 

K the picture of a manor and its open fields and The opm 
virgates or yard-lands in villenage — i.e. both of the tem iTthe 
shell and of the community in serfdom inhabiting the jJSSom. 
shell — drawn in detail from the single Winslow 
example, has thrown light upon the Hundred Eolls, 
these latter, embracing hundreds of manors in the 
/midland counties of England, give the picture a 
^typical value, proving that it is true, not for one 
( manor only, but, speaking generally, for all the 
I manors of central England. 

They also give additional information on the rela- 

n 2 

36 The English Village Community. 

Chap. II. tion of the holdings to the hide^ and reveal more 
clearly than the Winslow manor rolls the nature of the 
serfdom under which the villein tenants held their 
virgates. Before passing from the Hundred Bolls it 
will be worth while to examine the new facts they 
give us, and to devote a section to an examination of 
the services. 


Before passing to the villein services described in 
the Hundred Rolls, evidence may be cited from them 
showing the relation of the virgate or yard-land — 
which is now known to be the normal holding of the 
normal tenant in villenage — to the hide and carucate. If 
to the knowledge of what a virgate was, can be added 
an equally clear understanding of what a hide was, 
another valuable step will be gained. 

In the rolls for Huntingdonshire a series of entries 
occurs, describing, contrary to the usual practice of 
the compilers, the number of acres in a virgate, and the 
number of virgates in a hide, in several manors. 

These entries are given below,^ and they show 
clearly — 

(1) That the bundle of scattered strips called a 
virgate did not always contain the same number of 

(2) That the hide did not always contain the 
same number of virgates. 

But at the same time it is evident that the hide in 

^ For Table of entries see B^t page. 

The Hundred Rolls. 



Huntingdonshire most often contained 120 acres or 
thereabouts. It did so in twelve cases out of nineteen. 
In one case it contained the double of 120, i.e. 240 
acres. In six cases only the contents varied irregu- 
larly from the normal amount. 

Taking the normal hides of 120 acres, five of 
them were made up of f our virgates of th irty acies 
each , which we may take to have been normal vir- 
gates. T|ij^^^ (>,aP^ tliPrP -yypffi f{ig]]t Y?rgg>.pa of fifteen 

acre8_^eachjga the hide. In other places these probably 
^ would have been called half-virgates, as at Winslow. 
There were occasionallyJ|ye virgates and sometimes 
six virgates in the hide, and the fact of these varia- 
tions will be found to have a meaning hereafter ; but 
in the meantime we may gather from the instances 
given in the Hundred Bolls for Huntingdonshire, that 
the normal hide consisted as a rule of four virgates 
of about thirty acres each. The really important 

Chap. U. 

The nor- 
mal hide 
four vir- 
120 acres; 
the double 
hide of 240 
acres: but 
there are 
local varia- 


Ko. of Tirgat«t in 

Acres in a virgate 

▲erai In a hide 




ILp. 629 



































































38 The English Village Community. 

Chap. u. consequence resulting from this is the recognition of 
the fact that as the virgatewsLa a bundle of so many 
scattered strips in the open fields, the hide^ so far as it 
consisted of actual virgates in villenage, was also a 
bundle — a compound and fourfold bundle— of scat- 
tered strips in the open fields. 

Whilst, however, marking this relation of the vir- 
gate to the hide, regarded as actual holdings in villen- 
age, it is necessary to observe also that throughout 

the Hundred Bolls the assessed value of the manors 

^^ . . .. .. . - 

The an- ^^ generaUjT^stated in hides and virgates ; and that, 
c^t^hid- ,1^ ^jjg estimate thus given of the hidage of a manor 
asseMment as a wholc, the demesne land as well as the land in 
tion. "^ villenage is taken into account. In this case the hide 
and virgate are used as measures of assessment, and 
it does not follow that all land that was measured or 
estimated by the hide and virgate was actually 
divided up by balks into acres, although the^emesne 
land itself was in fact, as we have seen, often in the 
open fields, and intermixed with the strips in villen- 
age. Distinction must therefore be made between 
tte hide and virgate as actual holdings and the hide 
tsand virgate as customary land measures, used for re- 
cording the assessed values or the extent of manors, 
just as in the case of the acre. 
; The virgate and the hide were probably, like the 
I acre, actual holdings before they were adopted as 
^ abstract land measures. It may be even possible to 
learn or to guess what fact made a particular number 
of acres the most convenient holding. 
Theaci»^ In the Hundred Eolls for Oxfordshire there is 

frequent reference to the payment of the tax called 
scutage. The normal amount of this is assumed 

Tke Hundred Bolls. 39 

to be 40^. for each knighfa fee^ or scutum. And it Chap. it . 
appears that the knight's fee was assumed to contain 
four normal hides. There is an entry, * One hide 
gives scutage for a fourth part of one scutum.' And 
as four virgates went usually to each hide, so each 
virgate should contribute ^ of a scutum. There are 
several entries which state that when the scutage is 
40*. each virgate pays 2*. 6rf., which is -j^^^of 40*.^ 

And these figures seem to lead one step further, CoEn«oo 
and to connect the normal acreage of the hide of acMge of 
/T2OA., and of the virgate of 30a., with the scutage of ^^Sf 
V^O*. per knight's fee ; for when these normal acreages coJ"^*- 
were adhered to in practice the assessment would be 
one penny per acre, and the double hide of 240 acres 
would pay one pound. In other words, in choosing 
the acreage of the standard hide and virgate, a num- 
_ ber of acres was probably assumed, corresponding 

with the monetary system, so that the number of . 
_. pence in the * scutum ' should correspond with the 
number of acres assessed to its payment, ^^ejlia^l 
find this correspondence of acreage with the coinage 
by no means confined to this single instance. 

But there remains the question, why the acreage 
in the virgate and hide as actual holdings, and the 


Hundred RdUy Oxon, 

II. 708. 

Every virgate gives scutage 2«. 6J. when the 


is 4O0. 

2 virgates give 






1 virgate gives 


28. 6d. 




4 virgates give 






2 a jf 






U. 709. 

^ V ff 






5 fj It 






11. 830. 1 hide gives scutage for a fourth part of a scutum. 

From these instances it is evident that normally 4 virgates -* 1 hide, and 
4 hides make a knight's fee. 

40 The English Village Community. 

Chap. u. number of virgates in the hide, werenot constant. 
Their actual contents and relations were evidently 
ruled by some other reason than the nunaber of pence 
in a pound. 

C(mu'<a€, ^ trace at least of the original reason of the vary- 

a plough ing contents and relations of the hide and virgate is 

iMUadof to be found in the Hundred EoUs, as, indeed, almost 

for kur everywhere else, in the use of another word in the place 

taxation, of hide^ when, instead of the anciently assessed hidage 

/of almanor, its more modern actual taxable value is 

examined into and expressed. This new word is 

* c aruca te ' — -the land of a p lomhar plough team^ — 

*.caruca' being the mediaeval Latin term for both 

plough and plough team. 

The Hundred Eolls for Bedfordshire afford several 
examples in point. In some cases the carucate. seems 
*nd wied iQ \yQ identical with the normal hide of 120 acres, but 
to the ■oil. ojher instances show that the carucate varied in 
area.^ It is the land cultivated by a plough team ; 
varying in acreage, therefore, according to the light- 
ness or heaviness of the soil, and according to . the 
strength of the team. 



Services j^ the Hundred Eolls for Bedfordshire and 

often com* 

muted into Buckinghamshire the services of the villein tenants 


1 Hundred JRoUs, Beds. 

IL 821. Carucate of 120 acres. 
324 jj 80 ,y 

825 „ 100 „ 

826 „ 120 „ 

IL 828. Carucate of 200 acres. 
829 „ 80 „ 

332 „ 100 „ 

The Hundred Rolls. 


are almost always commuted into money payments. Chap. ii. 

^rom each virgate a payment of from I65. to 20^. is 
described as due, or services to that value {vel opera 
^ad valorem\ showing that the actual services have 
jcome the exception, and the money payments the 
ride . But in many cases distinguishin|g marks of 
serfdom still remained in the fine upon the marriage 
ofirSaughter, the heript on the death of the holder, 
and the restraint on the sale of animals.^ 

In Huntingdonshire and Oxfordshire, on the other 
hand, the services, whilst often having their money 
value assigned, are mostly given in great detail, as 
though still frequently enforced. 

Speaking generally, the chief services, notwith- of three 
standing variations in detail, may be classed under ^^ ' 
t^iXte different heads. 

(1) There is the weekh^ work at ploughing, reap- Week 
ing, carrying, usually for two'or three days a week, """"^ 
and most at harvest-time. In other cases there are 

80 many days' work required between certain dates. 

(2) There are precarice^ or * boon-days,' some- Precanae. 
times called bene works — special or extra services 
which the lord has a right to require, sometimes the 

lord providing food for the day, and sometimes the 
tenant providing for himself. 

(3) There are payments in kind or in money at Fixed does 
specified times, such as Christmas, Easter, Martinmas, S S^kSd. 
and Michaelmas dues ; churchshot^ an ancient ecclesias- 

^ Hundred Rolh, Bedfordshire, 
— ' Et sunt illi Tillani ita servi quod 
non p088UDt maritare filias nbi ad 
▼oluntstem domini ' (II. 820). 

'Nee puUoe dbi pullatos mas- 

(II. 328). 

Buckinghamshire, — ' Sunt ad 
yoluntatem domini, et ad alia faci- 
enda qu» ad servilem conditionem 
pertinent ' (IL 335-6). And 80 on. 


The English Village Community. 

Chap, ii. tical due ; besides contributions towards the lord's 
taxes in the shape of tallage or scutage. 

Sometimes the services are to be performed with 
one or two labourers, showing that the cottier tenants 
were labourers under the holders of virgates, or indi- 
cating possibly in some cases the remains of a slave 

The chief weekly services were those of plough- 
ing, the tenants sometimes supplying oxen to the lord's 
plough team, sometimes using their own ploughs, two 
or more joining their oxen for the purpose. This 
co-operation is a marked feature of the services, and 
is found also in connexion with reaping and carrying. 

The cottier tenants in respect of their smaller 
holdings often worked for their lord one day a week,, 
and having no plough, or oxen, their services did not 
include ploughing. 

Annexed are typical instances of the services of 
both classes of tenants. They are taken from three 
counties, and placed side by side for comparison. 



Of a Viilanus holding a 

A. B. holds a Tirgate, and 
owes — 

82 days* work fabout $. d. 
2 days a week] be- 
tween Anchaeunas 
and June 24, valued 
at ^d, B . .35 

11^ days' work 

rather more than 

days a week] be- 

» II. 744 b. 


Of a Viilanus holding 
a Virgate,^ 

A. B. holds 1 viigate 
in villenage — 

By paying \2d, at 

By doing works from 
Michaelmas to Eas- 
ter, with the excep- 
tion of the fortnight 
after Christmas, viz. 
2 days each week, 


Of a nUanus 

holding ^ Virgate 

of 16 acres,^ 

A. B. holds a i 
virgate of cus- 
tomable land 
containing 16 
acres, and does 
3 days' work 
each week 

throughout tho 




precaria), with 

» n.642a. 

» 11.6546. 

The Hundred Rolls. 




Cf a VUlanus holding a 

tween June 24 and t. d. 

August 1, valued 

at Id. '^ . . 11^ 

19 days' work [2i 
days a wecJc] be- 
tween August 1 
and Michaelmas, 
▼alued at l^d. •.24^ 

6 precarue, with one 
man, valued at . 12 

1 precaria, with 2 
men, for reaping, 
with food from the 
lord, valued at . 2 

Half a carriage for 
carrying the wheat 1 

Half a carriage for 
the hay . 1 

The ploughing and 
harrowing of an 
acre ... 6 

1 ploughing called 
* grawrthe* . . 1^ 

1 day*s harrowing of 
oat[land] . . 1 

1 horse [load] of 
wood • . • ^ 

Making 1 quarter of 
malt, and drying it 1 

1 day's work at wash- 
ing and shearing 
sheep, valued at • ^ 

1 day's hoeing . • \ 

8 days' mowing • 6 

1 day's nutting . ^ 

1 day's work in carry- 
ing to the stack . ^ 

Tallage once a year 
at the lord's wilL 


Gf a Viilanus holding 
a Virgate. 

with one man each 

Item, he shall plough 
with his own plough 
one selioB ana a half 
on erery Friday in 
the aforesaid time. 

Item, he shall harrow 
the same day as 
much as he has 

He shall do works 
from Easter to Pen- 
tecost, 2 days each 
week, with one man 
each day. 

And he shall plough 
one selion each Fri- 
day in the same time. 

He shall do works 
from Pentecost till 
August 1 , for 8 days 
each week, with one 
man each day, either 
hoeing the corn, or 
mowing and lifting 

He shall do works 
from August 1 till 
September 8, for 3 
days each week, 
with two men each 

He shall make 1 ' love- 
bonum ' with all his 
family except his 
wife, finding his 
own food. And 
from September 8 
to Michaelmas he 
works 3 days each 
week, with opo man 
each day. He shall 
carry [with a horse 
or horses] as far as 
Bolnhurst, and 
from Bolnhurst to 


Of a ViUanut 

holding ^ Virgate 

of 15 acrei, 

meals found by 
the lord, and 
gives at Martin- 
mas Id., and a 
hen at Ohrist- 
mas, and 8 eggs 
at Easter ; and 
the same works 
and customs if 
* adjirmam ' are 
valued at 9<. per 
(20 others each 
hold 15 acres 
with like ser- 


The English Village Community. 

Chap. II. 

ExAXPLiB OF ViLLEnr SKBLYicm—^amtmued, 


Of a Cotarxus} 

A. B. holds one croft, and 
owes from Michaelmas to 
Au^st 1, each workahle 
wedc, one day's work of what- 
ever kind the lord requires. 


Of a VtUantu holding 
a Virgate, 

Also he gives ^ hushel 
of com as ' bensed * 
in winter-time. 

AJso 10 hushels of 
oats at Martinmas 
as *fodderkam* 

Also 7d, as ' loksilvety 
that is for 2d, a loaf, 
and 6 hens. 

AJso lif. on Ash- Wed- 
nesday, as 'Jiipeni* 

Also 20 eggs at Easter. 

Also 10 em on 
St. Botolplfs Day 
(June 17). 

AJso in Easter week 
2d, towards digging 
the Tineyaid. 

AJso in Pentecost week 
Id. towards uphold- 
ing the mill-dam 
(atagnmm) of Newe- 

If he sell a hull calf he 
shall give the lord 
ahhot id.f and this 
according to custom. 

He gives * mercKetum ' 
and * herietum,^ and 
is tallaged at Mi- 
chaelmas according 
to the will of the 
said ahhot. 

He gives 2d. as 
* gumetoode gilver' At 

Of a Cotariut.* 

A. B. holds 1 acre at 
12d.f and works 4 
daya in autumn 
with one man. 

Hei^tallBpred 'qnando 


Of a Cotatius.^ 

A. B. is a cota- 
rius, and holds 1 
cottage and 1 
acre, for which 
he gives — 

> U. 768 a. 

» IL 013 b. 


The Hundred Rolls. 


lilxAMPLES OF Villein Sjsryjcba— continued. 

Chap. II. 


Of a Cotarius, 

At Martinmas {rives 1 cock 
and 3 hens for churchshotf 
and ought to drive to certain 
places, and to carry writs,' 
nis food being found by the 
lord ; also to wash and shear 
sheep, receiving a loaf and a 
half, and being partaker of 
the cheese with the servi; 
and to boe. In the autumn, 
to work and receive like as 
each servuB works and re- 
ceives for the whole week.^ 

(10 cottiers do like ser- 


Cfa Cotarius. 

Rex taUiat lurgos 
He gives ' gtxrshaves* 
each year for pigs 
killed and sold, viz. 
for a pig a year old, 


And when there is 
pannage in tbe lord's 
wood he gives for 
a pig of a year old, Id. 

And if he keeps his 
pigs alive beyond 
a year, he gives 


Of a Cotarius. 

I day's work 
on Nlonday in 
every weefi un- 
less a festival 
prevents him. 

1 hen at 

5 eggs at 




Contemporary in date with the Hundred Bolls is 
the anonymous work bearing the title of * Fleta^ which 
may be described as the vade mecum of the landlords 
of the time of Edward I. It was designed to put 
them in possession of necessary legal knowledge ; and 
mixed up with this are practical directions regarding 
the management of their estates. The writer advises Landlords 
landlords on taking possession of their manors to have 
a survey made of their property, so that they may 
know the extent of their rights and income. 

K in the Hundred Bolls we have photographic 
details of hundreds of individual manors surveyed 

view of a 

^ In another manor in Hunt- 
ingdonshire certain cottiers ought 
to make summonses. II. 616. 

' The Latin text is badly 
printed here, but the original has 
been inspected. 


The English Village Community. 

Chap. II. for puTposes of royal taxation, so here is a picture 
of an ordinary or typical manor— a generaUsation 
of the ordinary features of a manor — drawn by a 
contemporary hand, and regarding all things from a 
landlord's point of view. 

The manor as described in Fleta is a territorial 
unit, with its own courts and local customs known 
only on the spot. Therefore the extent is to be 
taken upon the testimony of ^faithfnl and sworn 
tenants of the lord.* And inquiry is to be made * — 

8arr»7 of 
i« manor. 


(1) Of CMtles and buildings in the demesne (t»i^rtfM0cw) within and 

without the moat, with gardens, curtilages, doyeootes, fish- 
ponds, &o. 

(2) What fields (compi) and cuturm there are in demesne, and how 

many acres of arable in each cuUura of meadow and of pasture. 

(3) What common pasture there is outside the demesne (/ortriMca), 

and what beasts the lord can place thereon [he, like his tenants, 
being as to this limited in his rights by custom]. 

(4) Of parks and demesne woods, whidi the lord at his will can culti- 

vate and reclaim (aisttrtare), 
(6) Of woods outside the demesne (/orttiMctf), in which others have 
common rights, how much the lord may approve. 

(6) Of pannage, herbage, and honey, and aU other issues of the forests, 

woods, moors, heaths, and wastes. 

(7) Of mills [belonging to the lord, and having a monopoly of grinding 

for the tenants at fixed charges], fishponds, rivers (ripariui), and 
fisheries several and conunon. 

(8) Of pleas and perquisites belonging to the connly, manor, and forest 


(0) Of churches belonging to the lord's advowson. 

(10) Of heriots, fairs, markets, tolls, day-works (operationei), services, 

foreign (forirueci) customs, and gifts (exhenniis), 

(11) Of warrens, liberties, parks, coney burrows, wardships, relief, and 

yearly fees. 

Then regarding the tenants, — 

(1) De libere tenentibuB, or free tenants, how many are wtiiMeci and 
' how many forirueci; what lands they hold of the lord, and 

* Fleta, lib. 2, c. 71. Compare also ^Extenta Manerii:^ Statutes of 
the Realm, L p. 242. 

Fleia. 47 

wliat of othen, mnd br what sendee ; whether hj toctige, or hr ^^^^- ^* 
wiVfery aerTieey or hy fee firm, or ' in deemoeriiam * ; who hold 
hj eheiter, and who not ; whet rente they pay ; whieh of them 
do suit at the lord's court, &c. ; and what aecmes to the lord 
at their death. 
<8) Ih emdmmarm^ or yiUein tnnants ; how many there are, and what Vnieia 
is thnr soit ; how moeh eaeh has, and what it is worth, both t^a^Bta 
dk amiifm^ io wm mtc and d» mofoo perfmimto; to what amount 
they csn be taDaged without redndng them to porerty and 
nun; what ia the Tslne of their *opermtiamm^ and ' cmumetm^meB* 
— their day-works and customary dotiee — and what rent thej 
pay; and which of them can be taUaged 'rmtiame $tm^mmi$ 
nmtm,* and who not 

Then there follows a statement of the duties of ooem. 
the usual officials of the manor. 

Krst there is the aeruschal^ or steward, whose The sene. 
duty it is to hold the Manor Courts and the View of stewaid; 
Frankpledge, and there to inquire if there be any 
withdrawals of customs, services, and rents, or of 
suits to the lord's courts, markets, and mills, and as 
to alienations of lands. He is also to check the 
amount of seed required by the proepositus for each 
manor, for under the seneschal there may be several 

On his appointment he must make himself ac- 
quainted with the condition of the manorial ploughs 
and plough teams. He must see that the land is pro- who ar- 
perly arranged, whether on the three field or the two- j^JJ^yM 
field system. K it be divided into three parts^ 180 *J^^* 
Acres should go to each carucate, viz. 60 acres to be ^^««- 
ploughed in winter, 60 in Lent, and 60 in summer for 
fallow. If in two parts^ there should be 160 acres 
to the carucate, half for fallow, half for winter and 
Lent sowing, i.e. 80 acres in each of the two * fields.* 

» Fleta, Kb. 2, c. 72. 

48 The English Village Community, 

Chap. II. Besides the manorial ploughs and plough team?* 
he must know also how many tenant or villein ploughs 
[carucce adjutrices) there are, and how often they are 
bound to aid the lord in each manor. 

He is also to inquire as to the stock in each 
manor, whereof an inventory indented is to be drawn 
up between him and the Serjeant; and as to any 
deficiency of beasts, which he is at once to make 
good with the lord's consent. 

The seneschal thus had jurisdiction over all the 
pJiSar manors of the lord. But each single manor should 
have its own proepositus. 

The best husbandman is to be elected by the mV- 
lata^ or body of tenants, as prueposiius^ and he is to be 
responsible for the cultivation of the arable land. He 
must see that the ploughs are yoked early in the 
morning — both the demesne and the villein ploughs — 
and that the land is properly ploughed {pure et con- 
junctim) and sown. He is a villein tenant, and acts 
on behalf of the villeins, but he is overlooked by the 
lord's bailiff. 
ThebaiUff. The bailiff's^ duties are stated to be — ^To rise 
early and have the ploughs yoked, then walk in the 
fields to see that all is right. He is to inspect the 
ploughs, whether those of the demesne or the villein 
or auxiliary ploughs, seeing that they be not un- 
yoked before their day's work ends, failing which he 
* will be called to account. At sowing-time the bailiff, 

prasposituSy and reaper must go with the ploughs 
through the whole day's work until they have com- 
pleted their proper quantity of ploughing for the day, 

' Fleta, lib. 2, c. 7.H. 

Battle Abbey and St. PauFs. 49 

which is to be measured, and if the ploughmen have Cii^F. VL 
made any errors or defaults, and can make no ex- ^"^* 
cuses, the reaper is to see that such faults do not go 
uncorrected and unpunished. 

Such is the picture, given by Fleta, of the manorial 
machine at work grinding through its daily labour on 

' the days set apart for service on the lord's demesne. 

^ The other side of the picture, the work of the 

/^viUani for themselves on other days, the yoking of 
their oxen in the common plough team, and the 
ploughing and sowing of their own scattered strips ; 
whether this was arranged with equal regard to 
rigid custom, or whether in Fleta's time the co-opera- 
tion had become to some extent broken up, so that 
each villein tenant made his own arrangements by 

/contract with his fellows, or otherwise — this inferior 

'^^de of the picture is left undrawn. 

In the meantime, returning to the question of the 

holdings in viUenage, an additional reason for the 

variations in their acreage is found in the statement 

already alluded to, viz. that the extent of the actual 

>6arucate, or land of one plough team, was dependent, 

(^among other things, upon whether the system of 
nusbandry was the two-field or the three-field system, 
f each plough team "being able to cultivate a larger 
acreage on the former than on the latter system. 


ST. Paul's). 

Passing now to the south-eastern counties, there Batu* 

are in the Eecord Office valuable MSS. relating to the ^^ 


50 The English Village Community. 

o«AF. n. estates of Battle Abbey. ^ There are two distinct 
surveys of these estates, made respectively in the 
reigns of Edward I. and Henry VL 
Snmyiof The date of the earliest MS. is from 12 to 15 
Edward I. (1284-7). It is, therefore, almost contem- 
poraneous with the Hundred Rolls. The estates lay 
in various counties ; but wherever situated, the same 
general phenomena as those already described are 

Confining attention to the regular grades of hold- 
ings in villenage, the following are examples from the 
Battle Abbey estates. 

The abbot had an estate at Brichwolton (or 
Brightwalton), in Berkshire. In the survey of it 10 
holders of a virgate each are recorded as virgariij and 
in the MS. of Henry VI., 5 holders of half-virgates are 
in the same way called dimidii virgarii. 

There was another estate at * Apeldreham,' in 
Sussex. Here, under the heading ^Isti subscripti 
dicuntur YherdlingeSj there is a list of 5 holders of 
virgates, 4 holders of 1^ virgates each, and one of ^ a 

At ' Alsiston,' in Sussex, a manor nestling under 
the chalk downs, the holdings were as follows : — 

^ hidM 1 wisto and 1 gretn wista. 

•ad wiatas. ^ hide. 

1 hide. 

^ hide and 1 wiBta. 

3 wistas and 1 great wista. 

^ hide. 

i hide. 

i hide. 

\ hide. 

1 wista. 
I hide. 
^ hide. 
^ hide. 
1 wista. 
} hide. 

The pnepoutos 1 wista 
(without aeryices). 

^ Augmentation Office^ M%9ceUaneous Books, Nos. 56 and 67. 

Battle Abbey and St. PauTs. 51 

In the description of the services, those for each 
half-hide are first given, and then there follows a note 
that each half-hide contains two wistas ; wherefore the 
services of each wista are half those above mentioned. 

There is another manor (Blechinton, near the 
coast), where there were — 

2 holdings of half-hides, 
9 of wistas, 
6 of half-wistas, 

and two other manors where the holders were in one 
case 5, all of half-hides ; and in the other case one of 
a hide and 4 of half-hides. 

These are valuable examples of hides and half-hides, 
as still actual holdings in villenage, whilst apparently 
instead of virgates in some of these Sussex manors a 
new holding — the wista — occurs. And among the 
documents of Battle Abbey given by Dugdale there 
is the following statement, viz., that 8 virgates = 1 
hide, and 4 virgates = 1 wista {great wista?). Sup- 
posing the virgate here, as mostly elsewhere, to have 
been, noimally, a bundle of 30 acres, it is clear that 
in this hide of 8 virgates we get another instance 
of the double hide of 240 acres ; whilst the * great The doable 
wista ' of 4 virgates would correspond with the single 24o*Mree. 
hide of 120 acres, and the wista would equal the ordi- 
nary half-hide of two virgates. 

We pass to another cartulary, and of earlier date. Domesday 
In 1222 a visitation was made of the manors belong- Pa,ir;,^D. 
ing to the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's, London. ^22*-^- 
The register of this visitation is known as the * Domes- 
day of St. Paul's.' ^ The manors were scattered in 

^ The Domeiday of 8t. Paul's, edited hj Archdeacon Hale, Camden 
Society, 1868. 



The English Village Community. Herts, Essex, Middlesex, and Surrey — ^all south-east- 
ern counties. 

In the survey of Thorp,^ one of the manors in 
Essex, after a hst of tenants on the demesne land, and 
others on reclaimed land {de essarto)^ there follows a 
list of tenants in villenage who are called hydarii. As 
in the Battle Abbey records the virgarii were holders 
of virgates, so these hydarii were probably, as their 
name impHes, groups of villani holding a hide. 
But the holdings had in fact become subdivided and 
irregular. Nevertheless, those belonging to each 
original hide are bracketed together; and adding 
together their acreage, it appears that the hide is 
assumed to contain 120 acres. The following examples 
will make it clear that the holdings were once hides 
of four virgates of 30 acres each. 


:. a. J 

[. /I. » 80 a. 
^hide «60a. 

30 a. 

• *-l-80a. 
. « ) 

hide of 120 acres. 

Hides and 

- hide of 120 acres. 


The services also were reckoned by the hide, and 
an abstract of them is here given, from which it will 
be seen that for some purposes the tenants of the now 
divided hide still clubbed as it were together to 

> Pp. 38 e< $eq. 

Battle Abbey and St Paul's. 63 

perform the services required for the hide ; whilst for Chap, il 
others * each hoigesteail^i^ClMfl) of tlie hide ' had its 
separate duties to perform. 

The following were the services on the manor of 
Thorp : ^— 

Each of the hidaru oQght to plough 8 acres, 4 in winter and 4 in Lent. 

Also to harrow and sow with the lord's seed. 

After Pentecost each house (domtu) of the hide has to hoe thrice. 

And to reap 4 acres, 2 of rye (tiligine), and 2 of barley and oats. 

And find a waggon (carmm) with 2 men to carry the hard grain, and ^ 
another to carry the soft grain ; and each waggon (phuitrum) 
shall haye 1 sheaf. 
Each house of the hide has to mow 3 half-acres. 
Each house of the hide has to provide a man to reap until the third 

[day], if aught remains. 
Each house of the hide and of the demesne allotted to tenants has to 

provide the strongest man whom it has for the lord's *precan€B * in 

autunm, the lord providing him meals twice a day. 
All men, both of the hide and of the demense, have to provide their own 

ploughs for the lord's 'precaria,* the lord providing their meals. 
And each hide ought to thresh out seed for the sowing of 4 acres after 

Michaelmas Day. 
Each hide must thresh out so much seed as will suffice for the land 

ploughed by one team in winter and in Lent. 
Each house of the whole village owes a hen at Christmas and eggs at 

These 10 hides ought to repair and keep in repair these houses in the 

demesne, viz. the Grange, cowhouse, and threshing house. 
Each of these hidaru owes 2 dodda of oats in the middle of March. 

And 14 loaves for ' mMcinga ' (P). 

And a ' companagmm ' (flesh, fish, or cheese). 
Each hide owes 6s, by the year, and ought to make of the lord's wood 4 

hurdles of rods for the fold. 

The instance of another manor of St. Paul's 
(Tillingham), in Essex,^ may be cited as further evi- 
dence that sometimes, even where the holdings (as at 
Winslow) were virgates and half-virgates, their original 
relation to the hide was not yet forgotten. For after 
giving the list of tenants in demesne, and of 19 

» P. 42. « P. 64. 


The English Village Community. 

OnAf^. tenants holding 80 acres each, who ' faciunt magnas 
operationes/ i.e. do full service, there is a statement 
that in this manor 30 acres make a virgate, and 120 
acres a hide ; ^ so that here also there are 4 virgates to 
the hide. But there was further in this manor a double 
Soianda, or Mde^ Called a ' solanda,' ^ presumably of 240 acres, 
iiide. ^ A double hide called a solanda is also mentioned in 
Sutton in Middlesex,^ and another in Drayton;* 
and the term solanda is probably the same as the 
well-known * suUung ' or * solin ' of Kent, meaning a 
* plough land.' 

It will be remembered that in the Huntingdon- 
shire Hundred Eolls a double hide of 240 acres was 

The / It may also be mentioned that in Kent* the division 

niUunffs I of the suUung^ 2L^?^®» ^^^ called SL^pie, instead of 
" ^^ **• [a yard-land or virgate ; suggesting that the divisions 
of the plough land in some way corresponded with 
he yokes of oxen in the team. 

On the whole little substantial difference appears 
between the grades of holdings in the south-east of 
England and those of the midland counties. We may 
add also that here, as elsewhere, the humbler class of 
cottier tenants are found beneath the regular holders 
of hides and virgates, and that on the demesne lands 
there appears the constantly increasing class of libere 
tenentes. Also passing from the holdings in villen- 
age to the serfdom under which they were held, 

^ * In manerio Uto sezcieB xx. 
acre faciunt hidam, et xxx. acre 
faciunt yirgatam ' (p. 64). 

s <Cum tL hidia tiiom aolan- 
darum' (p. 58). 

* iSlu^on, where mention is made 

of a 'solanda quie per se habet 
duas hidas ' (p. 93). 

* Drmtane, 'cum una hida de 
solande ' (p. 99). 

* For the tuUung of Kent, see 
Mr. Elton's Tenure$ of Kent, 

Gloucester and Worcester Records. 


and speaking generally, the description obtained from Ohf. u 
the Hundred Rolls of the services might with little 
variation be applied to the different area embraced 
in this section. 


Further facts relating to the hide and the virgate 
are elicited by extending the inquiry into the west of 
England. Turning to the cartulary of the monastery 
of St. Peter at Gloucester,^ there are several * extents ' Gionoeetw 


of manors in the west of England of about the year 1266. 
1266, which give valuable evidence, not only of the 
existence of the open fields divided into three fields or 
seasons, furlongs, and half-acre strips, but also as re- 
gards the holdings. 

The virgates in this district varied in acreage, 
some containing 48 acres, others 40, 38, 36, and 
28 acres respectively.^ In one case it is inciden- 
tally mentioned that 4 virgates make a hide.* We 
have thus in these extents evidence both of the pre- 
valence and of the varying acreage of the virgate in 
the extreme west of England, to add to the evidence 
already obtained in respect of the midland counties. 

So also the register of the Priory of St. Mary, Worcester 
Worcester,* dated 1240, afibrds still earlier evidence 1240? 
for the west of England of a similar kind. 

* Published in the Holls Series. 
' ui. p. CIX. 

* iii. p. 65.^ ' Quatuor Tirgat® 
terrse continentes imam hidam.' 

* Edited by Archdeacon Hale, 
in the Oamden Society's Series, 


The English Village Community. 

Uhap. u. 

In the first manor mentioned therein the customary 
services of the villeins are described as pertaining to 
each pair of half-virgates, i.e. to each original virgate.^ 
In the next manor there were 35 holdings in half-vir- 
gates, and so in other manors.^ It is sometimes men- 
tioned how many acres in each field belong to the 
several half-virgates, thus showing not only the 
division of the fields into seasons^ but the scattered 
contents of the holdings. 

Finally, with local variations serfdom in these two 
western counties was almost identical with that in 
other parts of England. 

Two examples of the services of holders of vir- 
gates and half-virgates respectively are appended as 
before for comparison with others, and also examples 
of the services of cottier tenants. The list given in 
the note below of the ' common customs ' of the 
villein tenants of one of the manors of Worcester 
Priory, describes some of the more general incidents 
of villenage, and shows how thorough a serfdom it 
originally was.' 

» P. 10 h. 
« P. 14 6. 

* Woroester Cartulary, p. 15 a. 
Of the common customs of the yil- 
leins on the manor of Newenham — 
to giye ' Thac ' on Martinmas Day ; 
for pigs above a year old (sows 
excepted), IdL, and for pigs not 
ahoye a year, ^d. ; to sell neither 
ox nor horse without licence; to 
give Id. toll on selling an ox or 
horse ; also * aid ' and ' leyrwite ' 
(fine for a daughter's incontinence) ; 
to redeem his sons, if they leave 
the land ; to pay ' germma ' for his 

daughters ; no one to leave the 
land, nor to make his son a clerk, 
without licence ; natives coming of 
age, unless they directly serve their 
£ather or mother, to perform 3 ' hen-' 
rip(B^\ and 'forinseci^ (t.e. villeins 
not bom in the manor) shall do 
likewise ; to carry at the summons 
of the ' serviem * (bailiff or Ser- 
jeant) besides the work : and if he 
carry ' ex necessitate,^ to be quit of 
[a day's] work; to give at death 
his best chattel (catalium) ; the suc- 
cessor to make a fine, as he can ; 
the widow to stay on the land as 

Gloucester and Worcester Records. 


To this evidence from the counties of Worcester ^^^* ^^ 
and Gloucester we may add the evidence of the Cus- Cuftumai 
tumal of Bleadon, in Somersetshire, also dating from in som J- 
the thirteenth century. ••^•''^ 

The manor belonged to the Prior of St. Swithin, at 
Winchester. There were very few Ubere tenentes. The 
tenants in villenage weretnV^ani, or holders of virgates, 
and dtmidii'Virgariij or holders of half-virgates. There 
were also holders of fardels or quarter-virgates, 
and half-fardels, or one-eighth-virgates, and other 
small cottier tenants. Four virgates went to the hide. 
And the services were very similar to those of the 
Gloucester and Worcester tenants. They are de- 
scribed at too great length to be inserted here. We 
may, however, notice the importance amongst other 
items of the carrying service or averagium — a service 
often mentioned among villein services, but here 
defined with more than usual exactness.^ 

In short, without going further into details, it is 
obvious that the open field system and the serfdom 
which lived within it were practically the same in 
their general features in the west and in the east of 

The following are the examples of the services in 
Gloucestershire and Worcestershire : — 

long as she contiiiues the serrice ; 
«U to attend their own mill ; ' Cot- 
manni ' to guard and take prisoners 
£to jail]. 

' ' £t idem faciet averagium apud 
BristoU' et apod WeUias per totum 
annum, et apud Pridie, et post 
hokedaj apud Bruggewauter, cum 
affro suo ducente bladum domini, 
caseum, et lanam, et cetera omnia 

qu» sibi servienspnecipere yoluerit, 
et habebit unam quadrantem et 
dayuam suam quietam. Et debet 
facere averagium apud Axebrugge 
et ad navem quotiens dominus 
Yoluerit, et nichil habebit propter 
idem averagium.' — Proceedings of 
Archaoiogical Institute^ Salisbury, 
p. 208. App. to Notice of the One- 
tumal ofBleadon, pp. 182-210. 


The English Village Community. 



Servicet of a Virgate} 

A. B. holds 1 virgate of $, d, 
4S acres (in the manor 
of Hartpury), with mes- 
suage, and 6 acres of 
meadow land. 

From Michaelmas till Au- 
gust 1 he has to plough 
one day a week, each 
day*s work heing valued 
at • • • • o^ 

And to do manual labour 
3 days a week, each day's 
work being valued at • \ 

On the 4th day to carry 
horse - loads (nimmtt- 
ffiare), if necessary, 
to Preston and other 
manors, and Gloucester, 
each day's work being 
valued at . . .1 

Once a year to carry to 
Wick, valued at . .3 

To plough one acre called 
* Eadacre^ ' and to thresh 
the seed for the said 
acre, the ploughing and 
threshing oeing valuedat 4 

To do the plougmng called 
' heneherthe ' witii one 
meal irom the lord, 
valued ultra cibum at . 1 

To mow the lord's meadow 
for 5 days, and more if 
necessary, each day's 
work being valued ultra 
opu8 tnanuale at . .1 

To lift the lord's hay for 
5 days .... 2^ 

To hoe the lord*s com for 
one day (besides the 
customary labour), with 
one man, valued at • ^ 

To do 1 ' bederipa ' before 
autumn with I man, 
valued at ... 1^ 


Services of a Half^virgate.^ 

Of the villenage of Neweham, 
vnth appurtenances (or mem- 
bers), and of the villeins' works 
and customs. 

In this manor are 35 half-vir- 
gates with appurtenances, ex- 
clusive of the half-virgate be- 
loDffinsr to the ' preepositufj 

Each half- virgate ad centum pays 
on St. Andrews Day \2d, 
(November 30) ; on Annun- 
ciation Day, \2d, (March 25) ; 
on St John's Day, \2d. (June 

From June 24 till August 1, 
each villein to work 2 days a 
week, and, if the Serjeant (ser^ 
vien$) shall so will, to contmue 
the same work till after Au- 
gust 1. 

From August 1 to Michaelmas — 
To work 4 days a week. 
To do 2 ' henripa ' (reapings at 

rea uest), with 1 man. 
To pumgh about Michaelmas 
a half-acre, to sow it with 
his own corn, and to har- 
row it. 

Also to plough for winter corn, 
spring corn, and fiillowing, for 
1 da^, exclusive of the work, 
and It is called ^henherthe,^ 

To give on February 2 one 
quarter of oats, and 2^d. as 
jisfe ' (fish-fee\ 

To hoe as [one aay's] work after 
June 24. 

All to mow as [one day's] work, 
and each to receive on mowing 
day as much grass as he can 
lift with his scythe, and if his 
scythe break he shall lose his 
grass and be amerced. 

All to receive Qd, for drink. 

' Gloucester Cartulary^ vol. iii. 
p. 78. 

* ^ Radacre^ in other places, pp. 

80, 110. 
• Worcester Cartulary, p. 14 6. 

Gloticester and Worcester Records. 


ViLLEDT Sebticeb— rcm^muMf. 


Services of a Virgate* 

To work in the lord's bar- », d, 
yett 5 days a week with 
2 men, from August 1 to 
Michaelmae^ valued per 
week at . .13 

To do 1 'bederipa; cfdled 
' bondenebedripa,^ with 4 
men, valued at . .6 

To do 1 harrowing a year, 
called ' londegffingef 
valued at . 1 

To i^ive at Michaelmas an 
aid of . « .33 

To [pay] * pannage f^ viz. for 
a pig of a year old . 1 

For a younger pig that can 
be separated . 

If he brew for sale, to give 
14 ffaUons of ale as toll. 

To sell neither horse nor 
ox without licence. 

Seller and buyer to give 44. as 
toll for a horse sold within 
the manor. 

To redeem son and daughter at 
the will of the lord. 

If he die, the lord to have his 
best beast of burden as heriot, 
and of his widow likewise, if 
she outlive her husband. 


Services of a lAindinartus} 

A. B. holds one 'lundi- 
narium * (in the manor 
of Highnam), to wit, a 
messuage with curtilage, 
4 acres of land, ana a 
half-acre of meadow, 
and has to work one day 
a week (probably Mon- 
day, LuDse-dies, Lundi, 
whence the title of the 
holding), from Michael- 
mas to August 1, and 
each day's work is 
valued at . . . 


Services of a Half-virgate, 

In this manor 8 gallons of beer 
are given as toll, besides the 
toll of the mills. 
Each half-virgate, if ad opera- 
tionem, from. Michaelmas tiU 
August 1, to work 2 days a 
To plough and sow with 
its own com half an acre, 
and to harrow the same. 
To plough and harrow one 
day in winter, and the 
prior to provide the seed; 
and, if necessary, each 
virgate to harrow as [a 
day's work] till ploughiug 
To plough one day in spring. 
Ana to plough for fallowing 
for 1 aay (warrectare) as 

Services of a Cottarius,* 

In the manor of Neweham are 
10 cottiers (omitting William 
the miller and Adam de Newe- 
ham), each holding 1 mes- 
suage with appurtenances, and 
6 acres. 
[If ad operationem] each to work 
2 days a week (exceptiDg 
Easter, Pentecost, and Onrist- 
mas weeks). 
To drive, take messages, and 

bear loads. 
To give Uhac;* thoi; aid, 
and such like. 

^ Gloucester Cartulary, vol. iii. 

' Worcester Cartulary tV» lfi«» 


The English Village Community. 

ViLLXiN Serticbs — ccniinued. 



Services of a Lundmariue, 

Servicee of a Cottarius. 

To mow the lord's mea- $. d. 

But they give neither oats 
nor 'fiefi: 

dow for 4 days if neoeR- 
sary, and a day's mow- 

If ^ ad firmamy to render at 

ing is Tallied at . .2 

each quarter-day (termtnwm) 

To aid in cocking and 


lifting the ha j for 6 days 

at least, and the day's 

work is Talued at . \ 

To hoe the lord's com for 1 

day, yalued at . . ^ 

To do 2 ' bederipsB ' before 

August 1, valued at 2 

From August 1 to Bfi- 

ehaelmas to do manual 

labour 2 days a week. 

and each day's work is 

yalued at . . • ^i 

To gather rushes on 

Au^t 1, yalued at \ 

And m all other 'condi- 

tions ' he shall do as the 


The total value of the ser- 

vice of a ' lundinarius ' is 6 8 

To give 4J. as aid at Mi- 


(15 other ' lundinarii ' hold on a 

like tenure.) 


Passing to the north of England, substantially 
the same system is found, along with customs and 
details which still further connect the gradations of 
the holdings in villenage with the plough team and 
the yokes of oxen of which it was composed. 

North of the Tees, in the district of the old North- 
umbria, virgates and half-virgates were still the 

Newminster and Kelso Records. 


usual holdings, but they were called * husband-lands.' ^^''- ^^ 
vThe full hu sband-land, or vir gate, was composed of Bovateaw 

Satto 6<wate^2 or o xgancfs ^ the bovate or oxgang being ^^^^^' 

(L thus the eighth of the hide or carucate. 

In the cartulary of Newminster,^ under date 1250, 
amongst charters giving evidence of the division of 
the fields into * seliones,' or strips,^ the holdings of 
which were scattered over the fields,' as everywhere 
else, is a grant of land to the abbey containing 8 
bovates in all, made up of 4 equal holdings of two 
bovates each. 

In the * Rotulus Redituum ' of the Abbey of Kelso, Husband 
dated 1290,* the holdings were ' husband-lands.' In J^°f "^ 
one place* — Selkirk — there were 15 husband-lands^ bovates. 
each containing a bovate. In another • — Bolden — the 
record of which, with the services of the husband- 
lands, is referred to several times in the document as 
typical of the rest, there were 28 husband-lands, 
owing equal payments and services. The contents 
are not given, but as the services evidently are 
doubles of those of Selkirk, it may be inferred that 
the husband-lands each contained 2 bovates {i.e. a 
virgate), and that so did the usual husband-lands of 
the Kelso estates. This inference is confirmed by 
the record for the manor of Keveden, which states 
that the monks had there 8 husband-lands,^ from each 
of which were due the services set out at length at 
the end of this section ; and then goes on to say that 
formerly each * husband ' took with his * land ' his f^^^*^ 
stuht^ viz. 2 oxen^ 1 horse, 3 chalders of oats, 6 bolls two oxeo 

^ SwrUes Society ^ p. 57. 

» P. 67. » P. 69. 

^ Published by the Bannatjne 

Club, 1846. 

* Vol. ii. p. 462. 
« P. 461. 

' P. 466. 

62 The English Village Community. 

Ckap. u. of barley, and 3 of wheat. ' But when Abbot Eichard 
commuted that service into money, then they returned 
their atuht^ and paid each for his husband-land 18^. 
per annum.' The allotment of 2 oxen as atuht^ 
or outfit, to the husband-land evidently corresponds 
with its contents as two bovates. 

If the holding of 2 bovates was equivalent to 
the virgate, and the bovate to the half-virgate or 
one-eighth of the hide, then the hide should con- 
tain 8 bovates or oxgangs ; and as the single oxgang 
had relation to the single ox, and the virgate or * two 
bovates ' to the pair of oxen allotted to it by way of 
* stuht,' or outfit, so the hide ought to have a similar 
relation to a team of 8 oxen. Thus, if the full team 
of 8 oxen can be shown to be the normal plough 
team, a very natural relation would be suggested 
between the gradations of holdings in viUenage, and 
tne number of oxen contributed by the holders of 
them to the full plough team of the manorial plough. 
And, in fact, there is ample evidence that it was so. 
FaU eamea In the Kclso rccords there is mention of a ^ car u- 
tLmdP** cate,' or * plough-land ' ^ (* plough ' being in these re- 
eight oxen, cords rendered by * caruca ') ; and this plough-land 
turns out, upon examination, to contain 4 husband- 
lands i.e. presumably 8 bovates. 

Further, among the * Ancient Acts of the Scotch 
Parhament ' there is an early statute ^ headed ' Of 
Landmen telande with Pluche, which ordains that * ilk 
man teland with a pluche of viii. oxin ' shall sow at the 
least so much wheat, &c. : showing that the team of 
8 oxen was the normal plough team in Scotland. 

» P. 861 • P. 18. 

Neumiinster and Kelso Records. 63 

Again, among the fragments printed under the head- Chap^. 
ing of * Ancient Scotch Laws and Customs/ without 
date, occurs the following record '} — 

^ In the first time that the law was made and or- 

* dained they began at the freedom of " haUkirk," 

* and since, at the measuring of lands, the " plew-land " 

* they ordained to contain mil. oxingang^ &c.' 

Even so late as the beginning of the present cen- 
tury, we learn from the old * Statistical Account of 
Scotland' that in many districts the old-fashioned 
ploughs were of such great weight that they re- 
quired 8, 10, and sometimes 12 oxen to draw them.* 

Information from the same source also explains 
t h^ use of ^^t he word * caryca ^f or plough . For the 
'construction of the word involves not 4 yoke of 
bxen, but 4 oxen yoked abreast, as are the horses in ^ow oxen 
the cantca so often seen upon Roman coins. And the abreatt. 
^Statistical Account' informs us that in some dis- 
/tricts of Scotland in former times * the ploughs were 

* drawn by 4 oxen or horses yoked abreast : one trod 

* constantly upon the tilled surface, another went in 

* the ftirrow, and two upon the stubble or white land. 

* The driver walked backwards holding his cattle by 
^ halters, and taking care that each beast had its equal 

* share in the draught. This, though it looked awk- 

* ward, was contended to be the only mode of yoking 

* by which 4 animals could best be compelled to exert 

* all their strength.'* 

The ancient Welsh laws, as we shall see by-and- So aUo in 


by, also speak of the normal plough team as consist- 
ing from time immemorial, throughout Wales, of 8 

1 Acts of Parliament of Scot- I * Analytis, p. 232. 
land, App. v. p. 887. I » Id. p. 282. 

64 The English Village Community, 

Ciur. II. oxen yoked 4 to a yoke. The team of 8 oxen seems 

y further to have been the normal manorial plough 

'-^team throughout England, though in some districts 

still larger teams were needful when the land was 

vieavy clay. 

In the ' Inquisition of the Manors of St. Paul's ' * 
it is stated of the demesne land of a manor in Hert- 
fordshire, that the ploughing could be done with two 
^ugh team s (caruc€B\ of 8 head each. And in 
another case in the same county *with 2 plough 

* teams of 8 heads, " cum consuetudinibus villatae " 

* — ^with the customary services of the villein tenants.'* 
In another, * with 5 ploughs, of which 8 have 4 oxen 
*and 4 horses, and 2 each 6 horses.' In another, 

* with 8 ploughs of 8 heads.' 
In manors in Essex, on the other hand, where the 

land is heavier, there are the following instances : ^ — 

4 plough ieuDB, 10 in each. 

2 w ff 8 w 

1 J, team, 10. 
8 „ teamfly 8 oxen and 2 hones. 

2 „ „ 10 oxen and 10 hones for the two. 
2 „ „ 12 oxen and 8 hones the two. 
2 „ 9t ^ hones and 4 oxen in each. 
2 „ „ 10 each. 
1 I, team, 6 hones and 4 oxen. 

In two manors in Middlesex the teams were as 
under : * — 

1 of 8 heads. 

2 of 8 oxen and 2 hones. 

» Dwnuday of St. Paufi, p. 1. I » Id, pp. 28, 83, 48, 63, 8(5. 
« 7rf. p. 7. I * Id. pp. 99, 104. 

Newminater and Kelso Records. 65 

In the Gloucester cartulary ^ there are the follow- <^^af^ 
mg instances :— 

To each plough team 8 oxen and 4 over. 

AU these instances are from documents of the Normal 
thirteenth century, and they conspire in confirming ^ 
the point that the normal plough team was, by general li^ozon. 

Cnsent, of 8 oxen ; though some heavier lands re- 
tired 10 or 12, and sometimes horses in aid of the 

Nor do these exceptions at all clash with the 
hypothesis oL the coanexion of the grades of holdings 
wjtji^e^umber of oxen contributed by the holders 
to the manorial plough team of their village ; for as 
the number of oxen in the team sometimes varied 
from the normal standard, so also did the number of 
virgates in the hide or carucate. 
^.^^^ So that, summing up the evidence of this chapter, 
I daylight seems to have dawned upon the meaning of 
1 the interesting gradation of holdings in villenage in 
\jhe open fields. The hide or carucate seems to be CoDnexion 
jth^ holding corresponding with the possession of a XeT!wn 
full plough team of 8 oxen. The half-hide corre- ^^^^ 
spends with the possession of one of the 2 yokes 
of 4 abreast ; the virgate with the possession of a 
pair of oxen, and the half-virgate or bovate with the 
possessio n of a single ox ; all having their fixed rela- 
tions to the full manorial plough team of 8 oxen. 
/And this conclusion receives graphic illustration when 
Ube Scotch chronicler Winton thus quaintly describes 

» Gloucester Cart, pp. 66, 61, 64. 


66 The English Village Community. 

^ ^»^'^ the efforts of King Alexander HE. to increase the 
growth of com in his kingdom : — 

Thwmen, pewere karli or knawe 

That we8 of mycht an ox til have 

He gert that man hawe part in plnche : 

Swa wee com in his land enwche : 

9wa than begouth, and efter lang 

Of land wes mesure, aiie ozgang. 

Mychtj men that had mA 

Ozyny he gert in plachys ga. 

Be that Terta all his land 

Of com he gert be ahowndand.^ 

Not that Alexander m. was really the originator 
of the terms * plow-land ' and * oxgate,' but that he 
attained his object of increasing the growth of corn 
by extending into new districts of Scotland, before 
given up chiefly to grazing, the same methods of 
husbandry as elsewhere had been at work from time 
immemorial, just as the monks of Eelso probably 
had done, by giving each of their villein tenants 
a *stuht' of 2 oxen with which to plough their 

One point more, however, still remains to be ex- 
plained before the principle of the open field system 
can be said to be fully grasped, viz. why the strips of 
^hich the hides, virgates, and bovates were composed 
were scattered in so strange a confusion all over the 
m fields. 

Bwrieet In the meantime the following examples of the 

services of the villein tenants of Keho husband-lands 
and bovates are appended for the purpose of com- 
parison with those of other districts : — 

^ Wintan, toI. i. p. 400 U.D. 1249-92). 


Kelso Records, 



At Bolden— 
The monlu have 28 <hu8\)aiid8 - 
lands in the yilla of Bolden^ 
each of which iised to render 
60. 81^. at Pentecost and Mar- 
tinmasy and to do certain ser- 
Tices, Tix. : 

To reap in autumn for 4 
days with all his family, 
himself and wife. 

To perform likewise a fifth 
day's work in autumn 
with 2 men. 

To carry peat with one 
waggon for one day from 
Goraon to the ' puUis.' 

To carry one waggon-load 
of peat from the ' pullis ' 
to the abbey in summer, 
and no more. 

To carry once a year with 
one horse from Berwick. 

And to have their meals 
from the abbey when 
doing this service. 

To till 1^ acre at the grange 
of Neuton every year. 

To harrow with one horee 
one day. 

To find one man at the 
sheepwashing and an- 
other man at the shear- 
ing, without meals. 

To answer likewise for 
foreign service and for 
other suits. 

To carry com in autumn with 
one waggon for one day. 

To carry tne abbot's wool 
from the barony to the 

To find him carriage over 
the moor to Lessemahagu. 



At Reveden — 
The monks have 8 'husbands - 
lands and 1 bovate, each of 
which performed certain ser- 
vices at one time, viz. : 
Each week in sununer the 
carria^ with 1 horse to 
The horse to carry 8 ' b<dia ' 
of com, or 2 *boUa^ of 
saltyor lA ^hoUa' of coals. 
In winter the same carriage, 
but the horse only carried 
2 ' holla ' of com, or 1^ 
^IoIUb' of salt, or I 
' hoUa ' and 'ferlath ' of 
Each week, when thev came 
from Berwick, eacn land 
did one day's work ac- 
cording to order. 
When they did not go to 
Berwick, they tilled 2 
days a week. 
In autumn, when they did 
not go to Berwick they 
did 8 days* work. 
At that time each ' husband ' 
took with his land 'sttihtf* 
viz. : 

2 oxen, 1 horse, 
8 ' cel^rsB ' of oats, 
6 ' bolltt ' of barley, 
8 * bollffi ' of corn. 
And afterwards, when Ab- 
bot Richard commuted 
that service into money, 
they returned their 
* sttthtf and each one 
gave for his land l&s, a 

* Hot. Red. Kelso, p. 461. 

« lb, p. 456. 

V 9 


The English Village Community. 

Crap. n. 

Survey of 

The ter- 

vicaa of 


We are now in a position to creep up one step 
nearer to the time of the Domesday Survey, and in 
the Boldon Book to examine earlier examples of 
North Country manors. 

The Boldon Book is a survey of the manors 
belonging to the Bishop of Durham in the year 1183^ 
nearly a century earlier than the date of the Hundred 

The typical entry which may be taken as the 
common form used throughout the record relates to 
the village of Boldon, from which the name of the 
survey is taken. 

It is as follows : ^ — 

In Boldon there are 22 villani, each holding 2 bovates, or 90 acres,. 
and paying 2s, Qd, for ' scat-penynges * [being in fact Id. per acre], a 
half ' shacMra * of oats, 16<^. for ' averpenynges ' [in lieu of carrying 
service], 6 four-wheel waggons of ' woocQade ' [lading of wood], 2 cocks,, 
and 10 eggs. 

They work 8 days a week throughout the year, excepting Easter 

week and Pentecost, and 13 days at Christmas. 
In autumn they do 4 dayworks at reaping, with all their family 
• except the housewife. Also they reap 8 roods of ' averype,* and 

plough and harrow 8 roods of ' averere* 
Also each yillein plough-team ploughs and harrows 2 acres, with 

allowance of food {*ccrrodium^) once from the bishop, and then 

they are quit of that week*s work. 
When they do ' magnas precatumes,* they have a food allowance 

{oorrodium) from the bishop, and as part of thmi works do 

harrowing when necessary, and 'facitmt ladas* (make loads P). 

And when they do these each receives 1 loaf. 
Also they reap for 1 day at Octon till the evening, and then they 

receive an allowance of food. 
And for the fiiirs of St. Cuthbert, every 2 villeins erect a booth ; 

and when they make ' loffia* and ' wodolade * (load wood), they are 

quit of other labour. 

" > P. see. 

Tlie Boldon Book. 69 

There are 12 ' caimanmy^ each of whom holds 12 acres, and thej work Ckap. XL 

throaghout the year 2 days a week except in the aforesaid ^'"'^ 

feasts, and render 12 hens and 60 eggs. 
BohertoB holds 2 boyatee or 36 acres, and renders half a mark. 
The PwfuUr holds 12 acres, and receives from each plough 1 ' tran€ ' 

of com, and renders 40 hens and 500 eggs. 
The MUUr [renders] 5( ouurks. 
The ' ViUam ' are, if need be, to make a house each year 40 feet long 

and 15 feet wide, and when they do this each is quit of 4d. of his 

' averpenynges.' 
The whole 'villa' renders 17«. as * ccmagium^ (i,e, tax on homed 

beasts), and 1 cow ' de metride.^ 
The demesne is at farm, together with the stock for 4 ploughs and 

4 harrows, and renders for 2 ploughs 16 'celdrse* of com, 16 

' celdrte ' of oats, 8 ' celdras ' of barley, and for the other 2 ploughs, 

10 marks. 

Here then at Boldon were 22 villani, each hold- xhev hold 
ing two bovates or 30 acres, equivalent to a virgate Jf^wo 
or yard-land. In another place (Quycham) there are ^^Jj^^ 
said to be thirty-five ^ bovat-villanij each of whom bovates. 
held a bovate of 16 acres, and performed such and 
auch services.^ These correspond with holders of 

Below these villani, holding one or two bovates, 
as in all other similar records, were cottage holdings, 
some of 12 acres, some of 6 acres each. There seems 
to have been a certain equality in some places, even 
in the lowest rank of holdings. 

Here then, within about 100 years of the Domes- 
day Survey, are found the usual grades of holdings in 
villenage. The services, too, present little variation 
from those of later records and other parts of England. 

Prom the Boldon Book may be gathered a few 
points of further information, which may serve to 
complete the picture of the life of the village com- 
munity in villenage. 

> P. 579. 


The English Village Community. 

Crap. II. 

fiirmed by 

the fiftber. 






The unity of the * villata ' as a self-acting com- 
munity is illustrated by the fact that in many instances 
the services of the villani are farmed by them from 
the monastery 6w a body, at a single rent for the whole 
village ^ — a step in the same direction as the commuta- 
tion of services and leasing of land to farm tenants, 
practices already everywhere becoming so usual. 

The corporate character of the * villata * is also 
illustrated by frequent mention of the village officials. 
The/a6^,*or blacksmith, whose duty it was to keep 
in repair the ironwork of the ploughs of the village, 
usually held his bovate or other holding in respect of 
his office free from ordinary services. The carpenter ^ 
also held his holding free, in return for his obligation 
to repair the woodwork of the ploughs and harrows. 

The punder^ (pound-keeper) was another official 
with a recognised position. And, as a matter of course, 
the villein tenant holding the office of prcspositus 
for the time being was freed by virtue of his office 
from the ordinary services of his virgate or two 
bovates,* but resumed them again when his term of 

1 P. 068. < ViUani da Southbj- 
dyk tenent yillam suam ad finnam et 
xedduntT.libras, etinyenient viii^^ 
homines ad metendum in autumpno 
et zxxvi. quadrigae (i.0. waggons) 
ad quadriganda blada apad Octo- 
nam' (1.0. a neighbouring village 
where was probably the bishop's 
chief granary) (668 a). 

' ' Faber (de Wermouth tenet) 
xii. acras pro ferramentis caruead et 
carbones inyenit ' (667 a). 

' Faber (de Queryndonshire) te- 
net xii. acras pro ferramento carucse 
fabricando * (606 6). 

'Faber 1 bovat' pro suo ser- 
Ticio ' (669 a\ 

Compare Hundred ItoUs, p. 661 a, 
and Domesday of St, PauTSf p. 67. 

' ' Oarpentarius (de Wermouth) 
qui senex habet in vita sua xii. acras 
pro carucis et herceis (1.0. harrows) 
faciendis ' (667 a). 

^ * Punder (de Neubotill) tenet 
xii. acras et habet de unaquaque 
caruca de Neubotill, de Bjdjk et de 
Heryngton (1.0. three yillatas) unam 
trayam bladi et reddit xl. (yel Ix.) 
gallinas et coc. oya ' (p. 668 a), 

^ (In Seggefeeld). 'Johannes 
praspoffltus habet ii. boyatas pro 
seryicio suo et si seryicium prsBposi- 
turss dimiserity reddit et operatur 
sicut aUi Firmarii ' (670 a). 

The Boldon Book. 71 

office ceased, and another villein was elected in his Cim^ 

In addition to the ordinary agricultural services 
in respect of the arable land, there is mention, in the 
services of Boldon and other places, of special dues Oomage. 
or payments, probably for rights of grazing or posses- 
sion of herds of cattle. This kind of payment is 
called ^ comagium,' either because it is paid in homed 
cattle, or, if in money, in respect of the number of 
horned cattle held. 

There are also services connected with the bishop's Drengaga. 
hunting expeditions. Thus there are persons holding 
in ^ drengage,' who have to feed a horse and a dog, 
and * to go in the great hunt' {magna caza) with two 
harriers and 15 * cordons,* &c.^ 

So of the villani of ' Aucklandshire ' * it is recorded Hanting 


that they are ' to furnish for the great hunts of the ^^^^^ 

* bishop a " cordon " from each bovate, and to make 
^ the Bishop's haU {aula) in the forest, sixty feet long 
*and sixteen feet wide between the posts, with a 

* buttery, a steward's room, a chamber and " privat." 

* Also they make a chapel 40 feet long by 15 wide, 

* receiving two shillings, of charity ; and make their 
" portion of the hedge {haya) round the lodges {hgioe). 

* On the departure of the bishop they have a full tun 
' of beer, or half a tun if he should stay on. They 

^ also keep the eyries of the hawks in the bailiwick of Boothi at 

* Badulphus CalUdus, and put up 18 booths {bothaa) ^af*™ 

* at the fairs of St. Cuthbert.' Oathb«pL 

The last item, which also occurs in the services 
of Boldon, is interesting in connexion with a passage 
in a letter of Pope Gregory the Great to the Abbot 

» P. 672. « P. 675! 

72 The English Village Community. 

o »^-ii ' Mellitus (a.d. 601), in which he requests the Bishop 
Augustine to be told that, after due consideration of 
the habits of the English nation, he (the Pope) deter- 
mines that, ^ because they have been used to slaughter 

* many oxen in the sacrifices to devils, some solemnity 
^ must be exchanged for them on this account, as that 
^ on the day of the dedication, or the nativities of the 

* holy martyrs, whose relics are there deposited, they 
^ may build themselves huts of the boughs of trees, 

* about those churches which have been turned to 
^ that use from temples, and celebrate the solemnity 
^ with religious feasting, and no more ofier beasts to 
' the devil, but kill cattle to the praise of God in their 

* eating, it being impossible to efface everything at 
' once from their obdurate minds : because he who 

* tries to rise to the highest place rises by degrees or 

* steps, and not by leaps.' ^ 
The villeins of St. Cuthbert's successor are found 

600 years after Pope Gregory's advice still, as a 
portion of their serviL, ye^l/putting up the booths 
for the fairs held in honour of their patron saint — a 
fact which may help us to reaUse the tenacity of local 
custom, and lessen our surprise if we find also that 
for the origin of other services we must look back 
for as long a period. 


A.D. 1126." 

Rfty or sixty years earher than the Boldon Book, 
was compiled the ' Liber Niger * * of the monastery 
^f St. Peter (ie Burgo, the abbey of Peterborough. 

' Bede, bk. L cxxx. I Society, 1849, as an appendix to 

* PabUBhed by the Oamden I the Chromcan Fttroburgense. 

The ' Liber Niger' of Peterborough. 73 

This record is remarkably exact and full in its Oh^^l 
details. Its date is from 1 126 to 1128 ; and its evidence 
farings up our knowledge of the English manor and 
serfdom — the open field and its holdings — almost to 
the threshold of the Domesday Survey, i.e. within 
about 40 years of it. 

The first entry gives the following information : * — 

Id Kateringw, which ia neeoeeod at 10 hidee^ 40 yillani held 40 yard- 
lands (MtyM Urr€Bf or Tirgates), and there were 8 cotsetes^ each holding 
5 acres. The seryices were as follows : 

The holders of Tirgates for the lord's work plough in spring 4 acres 
lor each Tiigate. And heeides this they find plough teams (eomccs) 
three times in winter, three times for spring plowing, and once in 
summer. And they have 22 plough teams, wherewith they work. And 
aD of them work 8 days a week. And heades this they render per 
annum from each Tirgate of custom 2s. 1^. And they all render 50 hens 
and 640 eggs. One tenant of 13 acres renders IBd, and [has] 2 acres 
of meadow. The mill with the miUer renders 20s. The 8 cotsetes 
work one day a week, and twice a year make malt. Each of them gives 
a peony for a goat, and if he has a she-goat, a halfpenny. There is a 
shepherd and a swineherd who hold 8 acres. And in the demesne of 
the manor (cwrim) are 4 plough teams with 32 oxen (ie. 8 to each 
team), 12 cows with 10 calves, and 2 unemployed animals, and 3 draught 
cattle, and 300 sheep, and 50 pigs, and as much meadow over as is 
worth Ids. The church of the Tillage is at the altar of the ahbey church. 
For the love-feast of St Peter ' [they give] 4 rams and 2 cows, or 59.* 

This entry may be taken as a typical one. 

Here, then, within forty years of the date of the Holdings, 
Domesday Survey is clear evidence that the normal UJfhS. 
holding of the villanus was a virgate. Elsewhere ^^'S*^^ 
there were semi-villani with half-virgates.® 

^ P. 157. I * In the next place mentioned 

* The love-feast (caritas) of St. | 20 men hold 20 virgates, and 13 
Peter may possihly, like the fairs hold 6} virgates among them, or 
of St. Outhhert, he a survival of half a virgate esch ; and so on. In 
aadent pagan sacrifices allowed to one place 8 villani hold 1 hide 
continue hy the permission of Pope and 1 virgate among them (aa 
Qregory the Great See Haxlitt 2 prohahly hold virgates, and 6 of 

under 'Wakes' and 'Fairs.' And 
Du Cange under ' Caritas.' 

them half-virgates), and 2 others 
hold 1 virgate each. In another. 


The English Village Community. 

Or^^. Further, throughout this record fortunately the 
number of ploughs and oxen on the lord's demesne 
happens to be mentioned, from which the number of 

The mano- oxeu to the team can be inferred. And the result is 

rial plough \ * -% /• n c\r i o 

tMmof Ahat m 15 out of 25 manors there were o oxen to a 

mg ^^^^^'\Q2ja ; in 6 the team had 6 oxen, and in the remaining 

V 4 cases the numbers were odd. 

-r*-^ So far as it goes, this evidence proves that, as a 

I rule, 8 oxen made up the full normal manorial plough 

V, tgam in the twelfth as in the thirteenth century. But 

it should be observed that this seems to hold good 

only of the ploughs on the lord's demesne — in dominio 

curice. The villani held other and apparently smaller 

ploughs, with about 4 oxen to the team instead of 

8, and with these they performed their services.* 

the vUUmi, 

In the rest of the record it is 
generaUy assumed that the 'pleni 
TiUani' have a viigate each, and 
the ' dimidii vUlani ' half a yii^gate 

20 pkni villani [of 1 Tirgate each] 
and 29 smn-viUtmi [of half-Tirgate 
each] hold in aU ^ virgates and 
a half. In another, 8 villani hold 
8 bovates, and 3 borates are waste. 

* The f oUo wing are instances of the villein plough teams : — 

The holders of 40 virgates hold 22 plough teams. 

20 „ 12 

20 „ 9 

team ; and it would seem, further, 




There seems to have been as 
nearly as possible one plough team 
to each two yirgates, which at two 
oxen the virgate would give four 
oxen to the plough instead of eight. 
Speaking generally, it may there- 
fore be said that there were on the 
Peterborough manors the greater 
ploughs of the lord's demense with 
thdr separate teams of eight oxen 
belonging to the lord, and the lesser 
ploughs of the villani, to work 
which two clubbed together, for 
which four oxen made a sufficient 

that not only had the villani to 
work at the great manorial ploughs, 
but also to do service for their lord 
with their own lesser ploughs in 
addition. This seems to explain the 
expressions used in the Qloucester 
cartulary that the demesne land of 
this or that manor can be ploughed 
with so many ploughs of eight head 
of oxen in the team ' cum conmetu^ 
dinibui villata ; ' and also the men- 
tion in Fleta of the 'camem ad- 
jutrices ' of the villani. 

The * Liber Niger ' of Peterborough. 76 

But this fact does not appear to clash with the ^^-^ 
supposed connexion between the hide of 8 bovates 
and the manorial plough with its team of 8 oxen. 
It probably simply shows that the connexion between 
them on which the regular gradation of holdings in 
villenage depended had its origin at an earlier period, 
when a simpler condition of the community in villen- 
age existed than that to be found in those days im- 
mediately following the Domesday Survey. There 
were, in fact, many other symptoms that the community 
in villenage had long been losing its archaic simpUcity 
and wandering from its original type. 

One of these symptoms may be found in the fact Svmptomi 
observed in the later evidence, that the number of breaking 
irr^ular holdings increased as time went on. In the MrMom. 
' liber Niger,* with the exception of the peculiar and 
local class of * sochmanni ' found in some of the 
manors, these irregular holdings seldom occur — a 
fact in itself very significant. 

Another symptom may be noticed in the circum- 
stance mentioned in the Boldon Book, and also in 
other cartularies, of the land in demesne being as a 
whole sometimes let or farmed out to the villani. 
Another was the fact, so apparent in the Hundred 
Rolls and cartularies, of the substitution of money pay- 
ments for the services. There is no mention in the 
* liber Niger ' of either of these practices. 

All these are symptoms that the system was not a 
system recently introduced, but an old system gra- 
dually breaking up, relaxing its rules, and becoming 
in some points inconsistent with itself. 

76 The English Village Community. 


^"^L?" To sum up the evidence already examined, and 

reaching to within forty years of the date of the 

Manm .''Domesday Survey, it is clear that England was 

wh2© *" ■ covered with manors. And these manors were in 

• 4 f«., in U,eir «..ple.t fo™, of n«norial 

/ lords, each with its village community in villenage 

. upon it. The land of the lord's demesne — ^the home 

farm belonging to the manor-house — ^was cultivated 

chiefly by the services of the viUata^ i.e. of the village 

Land in Community, or tenants in villenage. The land of this 

aS^iT* / village community, i.e. the land in villenage, lay round 

YiUenage. i the Village in open fields. In the village were the 

J messuages or homesteads of the tenants in villenage, 

( and their holdings were composed of bundles of 

Open field/ Scattered strips in the open fields, with rights of pas- 

•yttem. |[ turc ovcr the latter for their cattle after the crops were 

gathered, as well as on the green commons of the 

manor or township. 

r The tenants in villenage were divided into two 
(^distinct classes. 
ViUani Rrst, there were the villani proper, whose now 

lands. &c.' famiUar holdings, the hides, half-hides, virgates, and 
bovates, were connected with the number of oxen 
allotted to them or contributed by them to the ma- 
norial plough team of 8 oxen, the normal holding, 
the virgate or yard-land, including about 30 acres in 
scattered acre or half-acre strips. 

And further, these holdings of the villani were 
indivisible bundles passing with the homestead which 

Post' Domesday Evidence. 77 

formed a part of them by re-grant from the lord from Ch^^. 
one generation of serfs to another in unbroken regu- 
larity, always to a single successor, whether the 
eldest or the youngest son, according to the custom 
of each individual manor. They possessed all the 
unity and indivisibility of an entailed estate, and were 
sometimes known apparently for generations by the 
family name of the holders.^ But the reason under- 
Ijing all this regular devolution was not the preser- 
vation of the family of the tenant, but of the services 
due from the yard-land to the lord of the manor. 

Below the villani proper were the numerous Bordani. 

/^smaller tenants of what may be termed t he cottier 

^^ clasS: — sometimes called in the ' Liber Niger,' as it is im- 
portant to notice, bor darij} ( p yo^ably fro m the Saxon 
* bord,' a cottage). And these cottagers, possessing 
generally no oxen, and therefore taking no part in the 
ommon ploughing, still in some manors seem to 

.have ranked as a lower grade of villani, having small 
i2llotments in the open fields, — in some manors 5 acre 

^ strips apiece, in other manors more or less. 

Lastly, below the villeins and cottiers were, in some 8Uv«»s. 
districts, remains, hardly to be noticed in the later 
cartularies, of a class o{ servh or slaves, fast becoming 

/ h 

* * Galfridus Snow teuet quod- 
dam teoementum natiTum yocatum 
Snowes, . . . Willelmus Biesten 
tenet tenementum nativum yoca- 
tum BieiteSy* and so on. 

Extent of ' Byrchsingeseie/ near 

Leger Book of St, John the Bap-~ 
tist, Colchester. 

Wrest Park MSS., No. 67. 

I am indebted to Earl Cowper 

for the opportunity of referring 
to this interesting MS., containing 
valuable examples of extents of 
manors from the reign of Edward I., 
and of the serrices of the tenants. 
See particularly the extent of 
' Wycham^ 17 Ed. I., as a good ex- 
ample of the three field system and 

« Pp. 162-4, &c. 

78 The English Village Community. 

Chap. II. merg^ in the cottier class above them, or losing 
themselves among the household servants or labourers 
upon the lord's demesne. 

Open field Thus the community in villenage fitted into the 

5««rfSin. ^P®^ fi®^^ ^ ^^^^ ^^ ^^^ — ^ ®^^11 which was long to 
survive the breaking up of the system of serfdom 
which lived within it. The ddbris of this shell, as we 
have seen, still remains upon the open fields of some 
English villages and townships to-day ; but for the full 
meaning of some of its features, especially of the 
scattering of the strips in the yard-lands, we have 
to look still farther back into the past even than 
the twelfth century. 
Analysis Passiug from the shell to the serfdom which lived 

•ervioes. withiu it, wc have found it practically alike in the 
north and south and east and west of England, and 
from the time of the Black Death back to the 
threshold of the Domesday Survey. CompUcated as 
are the numerous little details of the services and pay- 
ments, they fall with great regularity under three 
distinct heads : — 

Week- 1 . Week'Warh — i,e, work for the lord for so many days a week, mostly 

^'^- three days. 

Boon- 2. PrecaruB, or boort'^ocrk — 1.0. special work at request (' ad precem ' 

^^^^' or ' at bene '), sometimes counting as part of the week-work, 

sometimes extra to it. 
q^qI S. Payments in money or kind or work, rendered by way of rent or 

'Gafol'; and various dues, such as Kirkikotf Seartk-^rmyf 

Batter duet, ftc. 

The first two of these may be said to be practicaUy 
quite distinct firom the third class, and intimately 
connected inte^' se. The boon-work would seem to be a 
necessary corollary of the limitation of the week-work. 
If the lord had had unUmited right to the whole work 

Post-Domesday Evidence. 79 

of his villein tenant all days a week, and had an iin- ChafJEI 

restricted choice as to what kind of work it should 

be, week-work at the lord's bidding might have 

covered it all. But custom not only limited the 

, number of days' work per week, but also limited the 

; number of days on which the work should consist of 

/ ploughing, reaping, and other work of more than 

( usual value, involving oxen or piece-work, beyond the 

usual work of ordinary days. 

The week-work^ limited or otherwise, was evidently 
the most servile incident of villcnage. 

The payments in money or kind, or in work of 
the third class, to which the word gafol^ or tribute, 
^ was applied, were more like modem rent, rates, and 
taxes than incidents of serfdom. 

Comparing the services of the villani with those 
of the cottiers or bordarii, the difference evidently 
turns upon the size of the holdings, and the possession 
or non-possession of oxen. 

Naturally ploughing was a prominent item in the ^^^ 
services of the villanus holding a virgate, with his 
* stuht,' or outfit of two oxen. As naturally the ser- 
vices of the bordarius or cottager did not include 
ploughing, but were limited to smaller services. 

But apparently the services of each class were 
equally servile. Both were in villenage, and week- 
work was the chief mark of the serfdom of both. 

Besides the servile week- work and ^ gafol^ &c., 
there were also other incidents of villenage felt to be 
restrictions upon freedom, and so of a servile nature. 
Of these the most general were — 

The requirement of the lord's licence for the marriage of a daughter, 
and fine on incontinence. 



80 7%^ English Village Community. 

Chap. IL The prohibitioii of sale of oxen, &c., without the lord's licence. 

^T ^e obligation to use the lord's mill, and do service at his court. 

servile ^^® obligation not to leave the land without the lord's licence, 

^~ It was the week-work of the villanus, and these 
restrictions on his personal liberty, which were felt to 
be serfdom.^ 

All limited But thesc servilc incidents were limited by custom, 
^ ^' and this limitation by custom of the lord's demands, 
as well as the more and more prevalent commutation 
of services into money payments in later times, were, 
as has been said, notes and marks of a relaxation of 
the serfdom. The absence of these limitations would 
be the note and mark of a more complete serfdom. 

Thus, in pursuing this economic inquiry further 

back into Saxon times, the main question will be 

whether the older serfdom of the holder of yard-lands 

was more or less unlimited, and therefore complete, 

than in the times following upon the Norman conquest. 

Tbeeri- Ii^ the meantime the Domesday Survey is the 

f«Up*^ next evidence which lies before us, and judging from 

theix>m€s- the tenacity of custom, and the extreme slowness of 

▼ey, economic changes in the later period, it may be 

approached with the almost certain expectation that 

no great alteration can well have taken place in the 

English open-field and manorial system in the forty 

^ The question of the perianal 
ittUus of the Yillein tenant Is' a dif- 
ferent one from that of YiDein tenure. 
Sir H. S. Maine {Farfy Law and 

incidents (except the merchetum on 
marriage of a daughter) and yet 
personally be free, as contrasted ) 
with the natiiri' or villeins by 

Cudanif p. 383) and Mr. F. Pollock : blood. Compare Bracton f. 4 b with 
(in his Notes on Early Englieh Land ' f . 26 a and 208 b. The question of 

LaWf * Law Mag. and Review ' for 

.May 1882) have pointed out that, 

according to Bracton, free men might 

be subject to yiUein tenure and its 

the origin of the confusion of status 
in serfdom will be referred to here- 


Post-Domesday Evidence. 81 

years between its date and that of the Lihei' Niger Chap^. 
of Peterborough Abbey. 

K this expectation should be realised, the 
Domesday Survey, approached as it has been by 
the ladder of the later evidence leading step by step 
up to it, ought easily to yield up its secrets. 

If such should prove to be the case, though losing and must 
some of its mystery and novelty, the Domesday S^toiu 
Survey will gain immensely in general interest and 
importance by becoming intelligible. The picture it 
gives of the condition of rural England will become 
vivid and clear in its outlines, and trustworthy to a 
unique degree in its details. For extending as it does, 
roughly speaking, to the whole of England south of 
the Tees and ea^t of the Severn, and spanning as it 
does by its double record the intervaJ between its 
date and the time of Edward the Cionfessor, it will 
prove more than ever an invaluable vantage-ground 
from which to work back economic inquiries into 
the periods before the Norman conquest of Eng- 
land. It may be trusted to do for the earlier Saxon 
records what a previous understanding of later records 
will have done for it. 





Chap. HI. In the Domesday Survey, as might be expected from 
the evidence of the foregoing chapter, the unit of 
inquiry is everywhere the manor, and the manor was 
a landowner's estate, with a township or village com- 
munity in villenage upon it, under the jurisdiction of 
the lord of the manor. 

But the same person was often the lord of many 

1,422 manors were in the ancient demesne of the 
Crown at the date of the Survey,^ and most of them 
had also been Crown manors in the time of Edward 
the Confessor. Thus, for centuries after the Conquest, 
the Domesday book was constantly appealed to as 
evidence that this manor or that was of "ancient 
demesne,' i.e. that it was a royal manor in the time 
of Edward the Confessor ; because the tenants of these 
manors claimed certain privil^es and immunities 
which other tenants did not enjoy. 

the king, 

> EUis'i IwtnditMum, L p. 226. 


The Domesday Survey. 83 

The monasteries also at the time of Edward the Chap^i. 
Confessor were fiblders of many manors, often in <rf the 

- , moDiistic 

various counties, and the Survey shows that they houses, 
were generally permitted to retain them after the 

Earis and powerful thanes were also at the time of *?d ^^ 

r I- ■ ■ thanes. 

Edward the Confessor possessors of many manors, and 

so were their Norm^ successors at the date of the 

turvey. The resident lord of a manor was often the 

mesne tenant of one of these greater lords. However 

/this might be, every manor had its lord, resident, or 

^represented by a steward or reeve {vtUiciis). 

/^ Sometimes the Survey shows that a village or ^l^ 

/township, once probably under a single lord, had 

(become divided between two or more manors ; and 

^ometimes again, by what was called subinfeudation, 

lesser and dependent manors, as In the HTtchin 

example, had been carved out of the original manor, 

once embracing directly the whole village or township. 

But these variations do not interfere with the 
general fact that there were manors everywhere, and 
that the typical manor was a manorial lord's estate, 
with a village or township upon it, under his jurisdic- 
tion, and in viUenage. 

Further, this was clearly the case both after the 
C onques t at the date of the Survey, and also before 
the,fl gnques t in the time of Edward the Confessor. 

What land was extra-manorial or belonged to no 
township was probably royal forest or waste. At 
the date of the Survey this unappropriated forest, as 
well as the numerous royal manors already alluded 
to, was included in the royal demesne. Whatever 
belonged to the latter was excluded from the jurisdic- 

» 2 

84 The English Village Community. 

Chap. ui. tion of the courts of the hundreds. It acknowledged 
Tem no lordship but that of the king, and was described 
"''*' in the Survey as terra regis. 



Not only were there manors everjrwhere, but 
throughout the Domesday Survey the division of the 
land of the manor into lord's demesne and land in 
villenage was all but universal, both in the time of 
Edward the Confessor and at the later date. It was 
so equally in the case of manors both in royal and in 
private hands. 
Hidw ad The record generally begins with the number of 

pMwm. hi(je8 or carucates at which the whole manor was 
rated according to ancient assessment. Generally, 
except in the Danish district of England (where the 
carucate only is used), the word hide (though often 
originally meaning, as already mentioned, the same 
thing as a carucate, viz. the land of one plough) was 
used in the Survey exclusively as the ancient unit of 
assessment, while the actual extent of the manor was 
described in caniicates^ and thus the number of hides 
often fell far short of the number of carucates. 
Aetma In the Inquisitio Eliensis the Huntingdonshire 

JJJJJ^ ^ manors of the abbey are described as containing so 
many hides * ad geldum^ and so many carucates * ad 
arandum^ thus exactly explaining the use of the 

In Kent the ancient assessment was, consistently 
with later records, given by the number of solins — 


»i— --^ 

The Domesday Survey. 85 

suiting being an om word used both long before and C hap. li t 
afterwards, as we have seen, in the south-east of 
England for ' plough land.' 

Generally, whatever the terms made use of, the 
basis of the assessment seems to have been the number 
of plough teams at the time it was made, and (except 
in the west of England) this probably had been the 
case also as regards the ancient one quoted in the 
Survey. The actual circumstances of the manors had 
at the date of the Survey wandered far away from 
those at the date of the ancient assessment, and 
therefore it was needful to state the present actual 
number of carucates {carucatce) or plough teams 
{carucce)} The devastations of the Norman Con- 
quest had not been wholly repaired at the date 
of the Survey, and therefore after the number of 
actual plough teams in demesne and in villenage 
it is often stated that so many more might be 

The total number of plough teams being given, 
information is almost always added how many of 
them were in demesne and how many belonged to indemMoe 
the villeins. And it is to be noticed that the plough TiUenage. 
teams of the villeins were smaller than the typical 
manorial plough team of 8 oxen, just as was the case 
on the Peterborough manors, according to the Liber 

There were on an average in most counties about 
half as many ploughs in villenage as there were vil- 
leins ; so that, roughly speaking, two villeins, as in 

^ Unfortunatelj the aame contracted form fierves in the Sunrej for 
both cartuiota and caructu 


The English Village Community. 

Ceap. iu. the Peterborough manors, seem to have joined at each 
villein plough, which thus can hardly have possessed 
more than 4 oxen in its team. 


In the Domesday Survey for the greater part of 
iBngland there is no mention of free tenants, whether 
liberi homines * or * lihere tenentes' 

Nor, considering the extreme completeness of the 
lurvey, is it easy to explain their absence on any 
other hypothesis than that of their non-existence.^ A 
[lance at the map will show that throughout those 

^ An elaborate argument was 
raised Vy Archdeacon Hale in the 
Taluable introduction to the 0am- 
den Society's edition of the DomM" 
day of St. PauTi, to show that the 
Tidues given at the end of the entry 
for each manor in the Domesday 
Survey consisted of the rents of free 
tenants. He based his view on the 
fact that iu two cases quoted by 
him the amount of the value so 
given was exceeded by the amount 
for which the manor, in these cases, 
was let ' ad firmam ; ' and, farther, 
upon a comparison of the Domesday 
values of the manors of St. Paulas 
with the recorded ' Summse dena- 
riorum^ in 1181, and 'Tenants' 
rents' in 1222. But the figpures 
given are probably a suffident refu- 
tation of the view taken, inasmuch 
as though the latter have a certain 
general correspondence with the 
Domesday values in almost every 
case, if the view were correct, there 

I must have been a (idling off in the 
number and value of the tenants' 
rents between the two periods. 
The Ming off for the whole of the 
18 manors must have been in this 
case from 165/. lOf. T.B.B., and 
157/. ISi. 4d, T.R.W., of Domesday 
amounts, to 112/. 16f. 4d. in 1181, 
and 126/. lOf. Sd. in 1222. The 
true reading of these figures, there 
can hardly be a doubt, is that the 
amount of ienanti rent$ alone at the 
later date had become in the inter- 
val nearly as great as the whcle 
value of ^e manors (including the 
land both in demesne and in vil- 
lenage) at the time of the Domes- 
day Survey. There is abundant 
evidence of the rapid growth of 
population, and especially of the 
class of fr«e tenants, between the 
eleventh and the thirteenth centurv. 


The value of manors is given in 
many cases in the Hundred Rolls 
for Oxfordshire (including demesne 

The Domesday Survey. 


counties of England most completely under Danish Chap, iu 
^influence there were plenty of liheri homines and of the Hb^ 
allied class of sochmannij but nowhere else. And ^J^Jl^L 
that these two classes igere distinctly and exceptionally S^jL" 
Danish there is evidence in a passive in the laws of district 
Edward the Confessor, in which the * Manbote in 

* Danelaga ' is given separately and as different from 
that of the rest of England, viz. * de vilano et soche- 

* man xii. oras : de liberis hominibus iii. marcas.' ^ 

That the existence of these classes in a manor was 
local and quite exceptional is also confirmed by the 
place in which they are mentioned in the list of classes 
of tenants, the numbers of whom were to be recorded. 
They are placed last of all, even after the *8ervi.* 
Inauiry was to be made, * quot villani, quot cottarii, 

* quot servi, qtwt liberi homines^ quot sochemannV 
These were the words used in the statement of the in- 
quiry to be made in the manors of the monks of Ely, 

land rents and serrioeB), and the 
figures in the following six cases in 
which the comparison is complete 

show a large rise in value, as might 
he expected: 


HuMDRBD Rolls 

Name Value 

£ £ 
P. 156 6. Lineham (t.r.e.) 12 modo 10 
P. 157 a. Henettao „ 20 „ 18 
P. 168 6. Esthcote „ 5 „ 8 
P. 168 6. Fnlebroe „ 16 „ 16 
P.159a. Ideberie „ 12 „ 12 
P. 1596. CaniDgeham „ 12 „ 15 

£77 „ £79 


P. 748. Lynbam 
P. 789. Eimestan 
P. 780. Estoot . 
P. 744. Fdebrok 
P. 784. Iddebir . 
P. 788. K^yngham 


£ «. dL 
. 27 8 4 
. 88 19 2 
. 82 8 4 
. 28 7 7 
. 81 12 10| 
. 87 4 2 

£195 15 5i 

It b thus almost certain that 
both surveys were taken on the 
same plan, and embrace the value 

of the whole manor in each case. 

* Ancient Laic$^ 4^., of Eng*. 
land, Thorpe, 192. 


The English Village Community. 

^^ ^^' ^^ ^' which manors lay in the Danish district ; and the two 
last-mentioned classes were added out of order at the 
end of a common form, to meet its special needs.^ 

It is remarkable, however, that by common law 

(which generally represents very ancient custom) the 

existence of free tenants was essential to the Court 

Baron of a manor. Without some freemen, according 

to the old law books, it could not be held.^ And 

there is a curious instance, in the Survey, of three 

sochmanni being lent by one lord to another, so that 

he might hold his court.^ 

Norman Tliis being so, it is curious and important to notice 

of Uie lor? ^^^^ ^^^ survey of the manors of the monks of Ely 

of the ^g^ ^Q l3g taken upon the oaths of the sheriff of the 

manor and ^ 

men of the couuty, and of all the barons and of their Norman 
associates {eorum Francigenarum)^ and of the wliole 
hundred (tocius centuriatus)^ the priests, praepositi, 
and six villani of each manor {villa). ^ 

The sochmanni and liberi homines must here be 
included either among the * Norman associates ' or the 
' whole hundred.' 

It may be concluded, therefore, that the liberi 
homines and sochmanni were of Danish or Norman 
origin, as also probably was the Court Baron itself; 
whilst in those districts of England not so much under 
Danish or Norman influence, the demesne lands were 
not let out until a later period to permanent freehold- 
ing tenants. Upon the lord's demesne, and perhaps 

^ Inqumtio ElummSf f. 407 a. 

« ElUs, i. 237. 

' Ihid, L 237, note. Domesday, 
L 1936. Orduuelle. 

* Ellis, i. 22. See, as to JF^an- 
cigena, Laws of W, Conq. iii. Nos. 

Ill and rV. Thorpe, p. 211. As 
to the ' centuriatus,* see Capituiare 
de ViUU Caroli Magni, s. 62— 'Quid 
de liberis hominibus et cent^nb.* 
Monununta QermanuB Historica, 
HanoTer, 1881, p. 89. 

The Domesday Survey. 89 

in the manorial hall, may have been the * Francigence c?hap^i. 
eorum ' belonging to the * CSomitatus/ not necessarily 
holders of land, but more or less dependants of the 
lord of the manor. Out of the Danish district nearly 
all the population on the manor seems clearly to have 
been tenants in villenage or slaves. 


We turn now to the tenants in villenage, who 
formed the bulk cf the population, and with whom 
this inquiry has most to do. 

The terms of the writ ordering the survey to be 
made on the Ely manors show clearly what classes 
of tenants in villenage were expected to be found on 
the manors. The jury were to inquire — 

(1) Quot villani. 

(2) Quot cotarii. 

(3) Quot servi. 

The three classes of tenants in villenage actually 
mentioned in the Survey are almost universally the — 

(1) Villani. 

(2) Bordarii [or cottarii]. 

(3) Servi. 

As regards the servi, the map will show that TheservL 
whilst only embracing nine per cent, of the whole popu- 
lation of England, they were most numerous towards 
the south-west of England, less and less numerous as 
the Danish districts were approached, and absent 

90 The English ViUctge Community. 

Chap. III. altogether from Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, and border- 
ing districts. 

Even when most numerous they were hardly 
tenants in villenage. They seem to have held no 
land, and often to have been rather household thralls 
of the lord of the manor than tenants in any ordinary 
sense of the word.^ 

Thus the real tenants in villenage were confined 
mainly to the two classes of villani and bordarii, or 

The cot- Taking the bordarii or cottage tenants first, the 

map will show how evenly they were scattered over 
the whole country. They embraced 32 per cent. — 
roughly one-third — of the whole population in their 
number, and in no county were there less than 12 per 
cent, of them. 

TheviUani. But the Villani wcrc evidently at the date of the 
Survey, and at the earlier date of Edward the C!on- 
fessor, as they were afterwards, by far the most im- 
portant and typical tenants in villenage. 

They were at the date of the Survey even more 
/ numerous than the cottier class below them. They 
x^mbraced_38^iCT cent, of the whole population, and, 
except where partially displaced by the sochmanni of 
^ the Danish district, were pretty evenly dispersed all 
over England. Except in Norfolk and Suflblk, they 
were seldom less than one-third of the popula- 
tion. And if at the time of the Survey they were 
holders of virgates and half-virgates, as their suc- 
cessors were afterwards, then it follows that they held 
by far the largest proportion of the land of England 


* The servi are mentioned 
sometimeB as on the lord's demesne, 

and sometimes at the end of the 
tenants in >'illenage. 

The Domesday Survey. 91 

in their holdings. But before we assume this, some Chap^i 
proof may fairly be required that it was so. In the Same 
meantime it is clear that the classes of tenants in tenanuas 
villenage bore the same names at the time of the Survey •'^^•^■* 
as they did afterwards. The presumption evidently 
is that they held similar holdings. 


The compilers of the Survey were not in the habit 
of describing in detail the character of the holdings 
of the villani. Whilst recording how many villani 
there were in a manor, the Domesday Survey does 
not, like the Hundred Bolls, usually go on to state 
how many of them held a virgate and how many a 
half-virgate each. 

Still, notwithstanding this general silence of the The hold- 
Survey on this point, treating the matter manor by X^^ '**• 
manor, and taking for example the Peterborough '"^^'J^ 
manors, it might be inferred almost with certainty haif-^w- 
that as the villani of the Liber Niger in 1125 were 
holders of virgates and half-virgates, so their fathers 
and grandfathers before them must also have held 
virgates and half-virgates at the time of the Domes- 
day Survey and of Edward the Confessor. And such 
an inference would be strengthened by the occasional 
use in the Survey of the terms integri villani^ and 
villani dimidii^ answering no doubt to the same 
terms, and to the pleni virgarii and semi-virgarii of 
the Liber Niger and the Battle Abbey records. 

» Survey, i. f. 262. « Ibid, L ff. 162, 168, 169 h, 262. 

92 The English Village Community. 

o^^^-J^^- That the land was really held at the date of the 
Survey in hides and virgates may also be gathered 
from the well-known statement of the Saxon Chronicle 
that * noes an celpig hide ne an gyrde landes ' was 
omitted from the Survey — a statement which does not 
mean that not a hide nor a yard of land was omitted, 
but not a hide or a yard-land, i.e. a virgate.^ , Sp that 
it might fairly be inferred from this passage that tlie 
virgate was the normal or typical holding of the vil- 
lanus, and this inference might well cover the whole 
area of the Survey. 

But there is more direct evidence than tliese 

general inferences. It so happens that there are a few 

local exceptions to the general silence of the Survey 

as regards the holdings of the viliani. 

ifixiunpies The most remarkable exception to the general 

of Middu-Zreticence occurs in the survey for Middlesex, the 

■*** V^ompilers of which go out of their way fortunately to 

L give precisely the desired information. And wherever 

[they do so the holdings are found to be in the now 
familiar grades of hides, half-hides, virgates, and half- 

The following are a few examples : — 

(¥. 127 «.)— JK»a. 

The priest holds 1 hide. 
8 milites hold 6^ hides. 
2 viilaDi I, 2 ,, 

12 yf yi O If 

i.e. a hide each]. 
'%.€. ^ hide each]. 

40 „ „ 6 


20 f, y, 5 „ [i>. i hide each, or virgate]. 

'i.e. I hide each, or ^ virgate]. 

16 ff „ 2 „ \i.e. i hide each, or ^ virgate]. 

1 Suh aiino MLXXXV. Rolls Edition, hy Thorpe, i. p. 353. 

The Domesday Survey. 93 

GsAP. m. 

(F. 128 a.)— Jfi nUa M tedei jEedema Sti. Petri ( WednmsUr). 

9 Tillani each of a yirgate. 
1 yillanut of 1 hide. 
9 Tillaoi each of ^ virgate. 
1 eotarius of 6 acrea. 
41 cotarii with gardens. 

(F. 128 h.)^irtrmode8worde. 

1 miles holds 2 hides. 

2 Tillani hold 1 hide each. 

2 ,, of 1 hide (i,e, ^ hide each). 
14 y, each of 1 virgate. 

" w n i 9f 

6 bordarii each of 6 acres. 

7 cotarii. 
6 servi. 

And so on thr<Tughout the survey for the county. 

As might be expected, most of the villani held 
virgates and half-virgates, but there are a sufficient 
number of cases of hides and half-hides to show con- 
clusively the relation to each other of the four grades 
in the regular hierarchy of viUenage. 

Another local and solitary exception occurs in the ^^^ j^ 
record for Sawbridgeworth^ in Hertfordshire. The in Herts, 
holdings in this case were as follows : — 

(F. 189 h.)--8aJlfnxUmrde. 

The pmpositos holds a ^ hide. 

The priest holds 1 hide. 

14 yillani hold each 1^ yirgale. 

85 Tillani hold each ^ yirgatOy and among them 

1^ virgate with 9 acres, paying 17«. A^d, 
46 hordarii hold each 8 acres. 
2 bordarii hold 10 acres (i.e. 6 acres each). 
20 cotarii hold 26 acres (t.e. among them). 

A few Other exceptional cases occur in the Liber 

94 The English Village Community. 

^ ^^^' ^ ^ Eliensis. The abbey had three manors in Hert- 
fordshire, and in these the holdings were as follows : 

(P. 509-10.) — Iv OEDwiinaTBBU Huvdbbd. 

Hadam, 1 ' yillanuB ' of 1 yirgate. 

18 ' villani/ each of ^ yirgate. 
7 ' cotarii ' of ^ virgate [ub. together). 


Hatfield. 18 < villani* each of 1 yiigate. 
The priest of \ hide. 
4 ' homines ' of 4 hides (t.«. a hide each). 

Iir Odisbib Huvdbbd. 

ChyUeadla. 2 yillani of ^ hide (t.0. 1 virgate each). 

10 yillani of 5 virgates {%.€. ^ yirgate each). 
9 bordarii of 1 yiigate {%j6 together). 
7 send. 

In the Fan The monks of Ely also had several manors in the 
Fen country, but the holdings in this district seem to 
have been peculiar. Instead of being * each of a 
virgate/ or ' each of a half-virgate,' they are ' each of 
so many acres,' as was also found to be the case in 
some districts of Cambridgeshire in the Hundred 
Bolls. The Fen district seems to have had its own local 
peculiarities, both in the eleventh and in the four- 
teenth centuries, just as Kent also had. But here 
was no exception to the rule that the villani were 
classed in grades, each grade with equal holdings. 

These accidental instances in the Domesday Survey 
in which the required information is given are nu- 
merous enough to make it clear that at the date of 
the Survey the holdings of the villani were generally 
land the / hides, half-hides, virgates, and half-virgates. The 
hoidng of y virgate or yard-land was the normal holding, as it was 
iaauk ' afterwards. And this being so, it may reasonably be 

The Domesday Survey. 95 

concluded also that the virgates and half-virgateg Ob^p^i. 
were themselves what they were afterwards — bundles 
of strips scattered over the open fields, and having 
some connexion not yet fully explained, but clearly 
indicated, with the number of oxen allotted to their 
holders or contributed by them to the manorial 
plough team of eight oxen. 


It has already been noticed that in the Inquiaitio 
Eliensis the particulars to be recorded as regards the 
tenants were — 

1. Quot villani. 

2. Qaot cottarii. 

3. Quot servi, &c. 

And that with few exceptions throughout the 
Survey the three classes actually found in the Survey 

were — 

1. Villani. 

2. Bordariu 

3. Servi. 

From this fact alone it would not be wrong to 
conclude that to a great extent the words bordarii 
and cottani were interchangeable. 

This inference gains much weight from the fact 
that a great many bordarii as well as cottarii are 
found even in the Inqumtio Eliensis itself. The 
facts, however, when collected together are some- 


The English Village Community. 

^^ ^^' ™ ' what curious, as a reference to the note below will 


Ck>ttien In a fcw cases there are both bordarii and cottarii 

darii Tenr'*Ijnentioned, which would lead to the conclusion that 

"* ' *' they were distinct classes. But in most cases there 

- are either one or the other of the two classes men- 

C-. tioned, but not both. Examining their holdings there 

seems to be no difference between them. 
/ There are bordarii holding so many acres each, 
(generally five^ but varying sometimes from one to ten* 
There are cottarii with all these variations of holdings. 
There are * bordarii with their gardens/ and there are 
likewise ' cottarii with their gardens.' There are both 
bordarii and cottarii who, as their holdings are not 
described at all, may, for anything we know, have 
held cottages only, and no land or gardens. 

Comparing these Cambridgeshire examples with 
those in Hertfordshire, and others in the Domesday 
Survey for Middlesex, we may conclude that for all 

^ In the Inqumtio ElientU the instances of bordarii and cottarii 
In Oambridgeshire are as follows : — 

iii. cot. 

iii. bor. 

ii. bor. 

uii. bor. 

vi. bor. 

iL bor. 

ziiiL bor. de suis ortis. 

ii. bor. 

T. bor. 

T. bor. de ▼. acrii. 

V. bor. de v. ac. 

Tii. bor. 

iii. bor. de iii. ac. 

uii. bor. 

xiL bor. de x. ac. quisque. 

T. bor. 

un. bor. 
iv. bor. 

• • • • « 

mi. bor. 

XV. bor. cum suis ortis. 
XT. bor. et iii. cot 
X. bor. et iii. cot 
ix. bor. et iiL cot. 
xviii. bor. et x. cot. 
iii. bor. de xr. ac 
(i.e. 5 a. each). 
viiL cot. 
iii. cot. de ortis. 
iv. qvisq. de v. ac. 

xii. bor. et ix. cot. 
ix. cot de ords suis. 
▼iiL cot 



...a . 

uii. cot 

▼iiL cot 

ii. cot 

▼iiL cot de i. a. 

▼. cot« 

im. cot 

X. cot L a. 

X. cot 

ix. cot. 

iiiL oot 

ii. bor. et i^. cot quisq. vL cot et iiii. bor. quisq. 
de X. a. de ▼. a. 

The Domesday Survey. 97 

practical purposes the bordariua was a cottier — some- ^«^- i^- 

times with no land, sometimes with a garden, some- 

times with one solitary acre strip in the open fields, 

some times with more, even up to 10 acres, but that 

the typical bordarius was a cottager who held, in ad- 

[ition to his cottage, 5 acres in the open fields. His 

was, therefore, a subordinate position to that of the 

f villanus proper in the village hierarchy, and he dif- 

»fered from the villanus probably most clearly in this, 

Cbat he put no oxen into the village plough teams, 
nd took no part in the common ploughing. 

His services were no less servile than those of the 
villanus, but of a more trivial kind. He was above 
the servus^ or slave, but his was the class which most 
easily would sUde into that of the modern labourer, 
and in which the senms himself in his turn might most 
easily merge. The word * bordarius ' was noticed in the 
Liber Niger of Peterborough, but though so universal 
in the Domesday Survey it soon slipped out of use ; 
and as * bord ' gave place to * cottage ' in the common 
_ speech, so the whole class below the villani came to 
-be known as cottagers. 



It may be worth while to test the value of the 
key which the results of this inquiry have put into 
our hand by applying it to the Domesday description 
of a particular manor. 

For this purpose the survey of the manor of 


98 The English Village Community. 

^^^^^^' Westminster may be chosen as one of great national 
Surrey of and historical interest. It is as follows : ^ — 


ster. In the yilla where is flituated the church of St. Peter {%,€» the abbey] 

the abbot of the same place holds 18^ hides [i.«. land rated at so much]. 

There is land for 11 plough teams. 

To the dememu belong 9 hides and 1 Tirgate, and there are 4 plough 


The viUeins have 6 plough teams, and one more might be made. 

There are 9 yillani with a Tirgate each. 

1 villanus with a hide. 

9 villani with a half-virgate each. 

1 cottier with 5 acres. 

41 cottiers rendering a shilling each yearly for thdr gardens. 

There is meadow for 11 plough teams, 

Pasture for the cattle of the village, 

Wood for 100 pigs. 

There are 25 houses of the abbot's soldiers and of other men, who 

render Ss, per annum or 10/. in aU ; when he recdved them, the 

same ; in the time of King Edward, 121, 

This manor was and is in the demesne of the Ghurch of St. Peter of 


In the same villa Bainiardua holds 3 hides of the abbot. There is 

land for 2 plough teams, and they are there, in demesne, and one 

cottier. Wood for 100 pigs. Pasture for cattle. Four arpents 

of vineyard newly planted. All these are worth 60«. ; when he 

received them, 20«. ; in the time of King Edward, 6/. Thb land 

belonged, and belongs, to the Church of St. Peter. 


neabbot's It is clear from this description that the village 
which nestled round the new minster just completed 
by Edward the Confessor, was on a manor of the 
abbot. It consisted of 25 houses of the abbot's im- 
mediate followers, 19 homesteads of viUani, 42 
cottages with their little gardens, and one of them 
with 5 acres of land. There was also the larger 
homestead of the sub-manor of the abbot's under- 
tenant, with a single cottage and a vineyard of 4 half- 
acres newly planted. There was meadow enough by 
the river side to make hay for the herd of oxen 

> F. 128 a. 

The Domesday Survey. 99 

belonging to the dozen plough teams of the village, Chap. iii 
/ and pasture for them and other cattle. Further round The open 
the village in open fields were about 1,000 acres of 
arable land mostly in the acre strips, lying no doubt 
in their shots or furlongs, and divided by green turf 
balks and field-ways. Lastly, surrounding the whole 
on the land side were the woods where the swineherd 
found mast for the 200 pigs of the place. On every 
one of these points we have the certain evidence of 
sworn eye-witnesses. 

And so with Uttle variation must have been the incidental 
condition of things in all material points twenty years *^^ **"**" 
earUer,* when King Edward lay on his death-bed and 
wandered in his mind, and saw in his delirium two 
holy monks whom he remembered in Normandy, who 
foretold to him the coming disasters to the realm, 
which should only be ended when * the green tree, 
after severance from its trunk and removal for the 
«pace of three acres {trium jugerum 8patio\ should 
return to its parent stem, and again bear leaf and 
finiit and flower.' It may be that the delirious king 
as * he sat up in bed ' dreamily gazed through the 
window of his chamber upon the open fields, and 
the turf balks dividing the acres. The green tree 
may have been suggested to his mind by an actual 
tree growing out of one of the balks. The uneven 
glass of his window-panes would be just as likely as not 
as he rose in his bed to sever the stem from the root 
to his eye, moving it apparently three acres' breadth 
higher up the open field, restoring it again to its root 
as he sank back on his pillow. The very delirium of 

^ The value of the rentals had I village had not increased in the 
decreased since T.R.E., so that the I interval. 

a 2 

100 Tke English Village Cominuniiy. 


Chap. III. the dying king thus becomes the most natural thing 
in the world when we know that all round were the 
open fields, and balks, and acres. Without this 
knowledge even the learned and graphic historian of 
the Norman Conquest can make nothing of the ^ trium 
jugerum spatio,' and casts about for other renderings 
instead of the perfectly intelligible right one.^ 

Once more; the contemporary biographer of 
Edward the Confessor, with the accuracy of one to 
whom Westminster was no doubt famihar, tells us 
that ^ the devout king destined to God that place, both 

* for that it was near unto the famous and wealthy city 

* of London, and also had a pleasant situation amoiigst 
^ fruitful fields lying round about it, with the principal 

* river running hard by, bringing in from all parts of 

* the world great variety of wares and merchandise of 

* all sorts to the city adjoining ; but chiefly for the 

* love of the apostle, whom he reverenced with a 

* special and singular affection/ * Even the delicate 
historical insight of the late historian of the abbey, to 
whom all its picturesque surroundings were so dear, 
failed to catch the full meaning of this passage. Whilst 
referred to in a note it becomes paraphrased thus 
m the text : — ^ By this time also the wilderness of 

* Thorney was cleared ; and the crowded river with 

* its green meadows, and the sunny aspect of the island, 

* may have had a charm for the king whose choice 

* had hitherto lain in the rustic fields of Islip and 

* Windsor.' • Yes, * meadows of Thorney ' there were. 

^ Freeman's Norman Ckmguest, 
iii. 12. 

* Oontemporary Life of Edward 
the Confessor in the Harleian MSS., 

pp. 980,985. 

• MemcriaU of WeUmiruter 
Abbey, p. 15. 

Tke Domesday Survey. 101 

on which the oxen of a dozen plough teams were ^^ ^^' ™ ' 

grazing, but the contemporary .writer's ^ frui^ul fields 

lying round about the place ' V.^ce-rflie' 1,000' acres of 

com land of which Dean -Staiiley rvae-nficonscious. 

No blame to him, for whaf Vcofi'olnfc' sttfderit had 

suflSciently understood the Domesday Survey to tell 

him that every virgate of the villani of the ' villa ubi 

sedet ^cclesia Sancti Petri ' was a bundle of strips of 

/arable land scattered all over the three great fields 

/ stretching away from the village, and the river, and 

^^e * meadows of Thorney ' for a mile or two round ? 


Knowing now that the virgate or yard-land was the 
normal holding of the villanus, though some villani 
held hides and half-hides, i.e. more virgates than one, 
and others half-virgates ; and knowing that the 
normal holding of the villanus, whether called a yard- 
land or a husband-land, or by any other name, was a 
bundle of scattered strips, containing normally thirty 
acres ; and knowing also the number of villani in the 
several counties embraced in the Survey, it becomes 
perfectly possible to estimate, roughly no doubt, but 
with remarkable certainty, the total area contained in 
their holdings. 

The total number of villani in these counties was 
108,407.^ If each villanus held a yard-land or vii-gate 
of 30 acres, then ^bout 3,250,000 acres were con- 

^ See Elli8*8 Introduction, voL ii.p. 514. 

102 The English Village Community. 

C hap. H I. taincd in their holdings. The number of villani 

Area in holding half-virgates was, however, probably greater 

of TiUani.* than tl^e.Jiiurnberj b'oHmg half-hides and hides ; so 

that..the jsiy^i:a^; holding -yvould perhaps hardly be 

equitl'm'acieSge to- -fhe'-iwrmal holding of 30 acres. 

Taking the average holding at 20 acres instead of 30,^ 

we should probably under-estimate the acreage. It 

would even then amount to 2,168,000. We shall be 

safe if we say that the villani held in their bundles of 

strips 2\ millions of acres.^ 

4»»» We must add the holdings of the 82,000 bordaril 

the hold- ^ 

ings of and of the 6,000 or 7,000 cottier tenants.* If these 
*^^"'' lesser holdings averaged three acres each, we must add 
another quarter of a million acres for them. The 
total of two and a half millions of acres can thus hardly 
be an over-estimate of the acreage of the arable 
strips in the open fields held by the villani and 
bordarii in villenage. What proportion did this bear 
to the whole cultivated area of these counties ? 
and of free Xo include the total acreage under the plough, 
the holdings of the aochmanni and libeiH homines of 
the Danish district must be added, and also the 
arable land (ploughed mainly by the villani) on the 
lord's demesne. The 23,000 fiocAmanm* can hardly 
have held as little as a similar number of villani — 
say half a miUion acres. The 12,000 liheri homines 
may have held another half-million. And one or two 
million acres can hardly be an excessive estimate for 
the arable portion of the lord's demesne. 

Putting all these figures together, the evidence of 
the Domesday Survey seems therefore to show that 

> Ellis, ii. p. 511. • Id. • md, p. 614. 

The Domesday Survey. 103 

At its date about five million acres were under the Chap^jil 
\plough, i.e, from one-third to one-half of the acreage Touuaboat 
/now in arable cultivation in the same counties of tJa!^ *^ 

/England.^ ^^l^ 

) This is not mere conjecture. It rests upon facts ^^^ *•, , 

*-; recorded in detail in the Survey for each manoi 
/ upon the oath of the villani themselves ; with no 

Chance of exaggeration, because upon the result was 
o be founded a tax ; with little chance of omission, 
because the men of the hundred, who also were sworn, 
would take care in their own interests that one place 
was not assessed more lightly than others. The 
general opinion was that ' not a single hide or yard- 
land was omitted.' 

The acreage under arable cultivation at the time 
of the Survey, and twenty years earlier in the time 
of Edward the Confessor, was thus really very large. 
And the villani in their yard-lands held nearly half of 
it, and together with the bordarii fully half of it, in 
villenage. It must be borne in mind also that by their 
services they tilled the greater part of the rest. 

^hiswas the economic condition in which England 
was left by the Saxons as the result of the 500 years 
of their rule. The agriculture of England, as they left 
it, was carried on under^tlSe open field system by village 
communities in villenage. It was under the system TUi«d by 
of SaxonT serfdom, with some little help from the labour 
actual slaves oiTthe lord's demesne, that the land was 
tilled throughout all those counties which the Saxons 
had thoroughly conquered, with some partial excep- 

^ The arable acreage in these counties in 1879 was about twel?e 
million acres. 

104 The English Village Community. 

^^ "^' ™ ' tion as regards the Danish districts, where the 
aochmanni and liberi homines were settled. 

This is the solid foundation of fact firmly vouched 
for by the Domesday Survey, read in the light of 
the evidence leading up to it. 

From this firm basis the inquiry must proceed, 
carefully following the same lines as before— working 
still from the known to the unknown — ^tracing the 
open field system, its villani, and their yard-lands still 
farther back into the earlier periods of Saxon rule. 

The question to be answered is, how far back into 
the earlier Saxon times the open field system and its 
yard-lands can be followed, and whether the serfdom 
connected with them was more or was less complete 
and servile in its character in the earlier than in the 
later period. 





Wb have learned from a long line of evidence, leading c^^^^. 
backwards to the date of the Domesday Survey, Trseesof 

Ghat the community in villenage fitted into the open field u 
ield system as a snail fits into a shell. Let us now, tim«>. 
foUowiBg the^sW-e method, and beginning again with 
the shell, inquire whether its distinctive features can 
be traced on English fields in early Saxon times from 
the date of the Domesday Survey, and of Edward the 
Confessor, backwards. 

And first it will be convenient to find out whether 
traces can be found of the * strips,' and the ' furlongs,' 
* headlands,' * Unches,' ' gored acres,' ' butts,' and odds 
and ends of * no-man's-land,' the remains of which 
are still to be seen wherever the open fields are un- 

It will be remembered that the strips upon exami- 
nation were found to be acres laid out for ploughing 

106 The English Village Community. 

Obat^. on the open fields. They were, in fact, the original 
actual divisions, from the general dimensions of which 
the statute acre, with its four roods, was derived. 

In the Bearing this in mind, the Anglo-Saxon translation 


of the 

tranaution of the Gosgels may be quoted in proof that tEe' fields 
round a Saxon village were open fields, and generally 
divided into acre strips in the tenth century, just as 
the vision of Piers Plowman was quoted in proof that 
it was so in the fourteenth century. 

The Saxon translator of the story of the disciples 
walking through the corn-fieldp describes them as 
walking over the * cecera s' 

Obviously the translator's notion of the corn-fields 
round a village was that of the open fields of his own 
country. They were divided into ' acres,' and he who 
walked over them walked over the ' acres.* 

But by far the best evidence occurs in the multi- 
tudes of charters, from the eighth century down- 
— wards, so many of which are contained in the cartu- 
^r'laries of the various abbeys, and more than 1,300 of 
• which are collected in Kemble's Codes. Di^j^bmaticus^ 
These charters are generally in Latin. They most 
often relate to the grant of a whole manor or estate 
>With the village upon it. And to the charters is 
f generally added in Saxon a description of the bound- 
yaries as known to the inhabitants. These descriptions 
f are in precisely the same form as the description of 
V.the boundanes on the Hitchin manor rolls as pre- 
sented by the homage in 1819.^ 

The boundary is always described as starting at 


^ The boundaries of the charters 
contained in first two volumes of 
the Chdex Dio, are collected in the 

Appendix to vol. iii. After this 
they are gi?en with the charters. 

The Saxon Open Field System. 


Chap. IV. 

some well-known point — perhaps a road or stream- 
as passing on from it to some other, and so on, from in the 
pomt to pomt, till the startmg-place is reached again. 
The chance of finding out from these boundaries 
whether they contained within them open fields lies 
simply in the possibility that some one or another of 
the distinctive features of the system may happen to 
occur at the edge of the estate or township, and so to 
be mentioned among the links in the chain of objects 
making up the boundary. 

The fact is that this happens very often. 

By way of example, the boundaries of Hordwell Example 
in Hampshire may be taken. They are appended to weU. 
a charter ^ by which King Edward, the son of King 
Alfred, gave the estate to the Abbey of Abingdon, 
and they are as follows : — 

Met€B de JSordweUa, 

An Swinbroc serest, thsBt up of 
Swinebroce in on riscslsBd, of thses 
ri8C8l»de8 bjge foran ongean Hoid- 
wylles weg, thaet andlang thees 
weges oth hit cymth to lecenhilde 
wege, thonne of thsBm wege, up on 
thone ealdan wude weg, thonne of 
thsen wude waga he eastan Telles- 
bjrg on 88nne garan, thonne of 
thaem garan on nsene garfiecer, thsBt 
andlangs thsere furh to anum and- 
heafdum to anre forierthe, and sio 
forierth gseth in to tham lande, 
thanne on gerihte to tham stane on 
hricg weg, thanon west on anne 
goran, andlanges thsere furh to 
anum anheafdum, thanon of dune 
on fearnhylles slsed, thset thanon on 

On Swinbroc first, thence up 
from Swinbroc on to rush-slade, 
from this rush-slade^s corner fore- 
against Hoidwell-way, thence along 
this way until it comes to the 
Icknild way, then from these ways 
upon the old wood-way, then from 
that wood-way by east Tellesburg 
to a comer, then from that corner 
to a fforeacre, thence along its fur- 
row to the ^ead of a headland, and 
which headland goes iBttrthe land, 
then right on to the stone on ridge 
way, then on west to a gore along 
the furrow to its head, then adown 
to fernhills slade, thence on a furrow 
in the acre nearer the Uncej then on 
that lince at fernhills' slade south- 

* Hist. Monasteriide Ahinqdon^ vol. i. p. 57. 

108 The English Village Community. 

Chaf. IV. ane furh an 8Bcer near thnm hlioce, 
— thonne on tb»t hlinc »t fearn- 
hyllea slede suthewearde, of thsem 
hlince on anon heafde, forth thser 
on ane forii, on ane atanrtewe, 
thanon on gerihte on hricgweg th»t 
thanone on ane garaecer on anon 
heafde, and se gartecer in on thset 
land, thanone andlangee anre furh 
oth hitcymth to anum byg, thanone 
of thsem byge forth on ane furh oth 
hit cymth to anre forierthe, and sio 
forierth into tham lande, thonne on 
Icenhilde weg heTellesburh westan, 
thanone north ofer Icenhilde weg 
on flican wylle, th»t hthweres ofer 
an furlang on gerihte on an lelrhed 
on hsBghylles broces byge, anlang 
thtea broces oth hit cymth to twam 
garsBcer, and than garsBcerae in on 
Ihset land, thanon on ane forierthe 
on anon heafde, thanon on gerihte 
on readan elif on Swinbroc, thonne 
andlang thses broces on thcot risc- 

ward from that linoe to its head, 
forward then on a furrow to a 
stonerow, then right on to the 
ridge- way, thence thereon to a gore" 
acre at its head, the goreacre being 
within that land, thence along a 
furrow till it comes to a comer, 
thence from that comer forward on 
a furrow till it comes to a head' 
land, which hea'lland is within the 
land, then on the Ickenild way by 
Tellesburg west, thence north over 
the Ickenild way to Sican-well, 
thence . • . over a furlong right 
on to an alder-bed at Eedgehill's 
brook comer, along this brook till 
it comes to two gcreacreSf which 
goreacres are wiUfliT^that land, 
thence on a headland to its head, 
then right on to^Hedcliffe on Swin- 
brook, then along this brook on 
that msh-slade. 


marks ar« 

In this single instance there is mention of acres or 
strips, of gores or gored-acres, of headlands, of fur- 
longs, and of linches. 

Scores of similar instances might be given from the 
Abingdon charters, * Liber de Hyda,' and the * Codex 
Diplomaticus,' showing that the boundaries constantly 
make mention of one or another of the distinctive 
marks by which the open field system may be recog- 

* Codex Dip. cdxziL *grenan 
hUnc,' cocliii. ' hlmcety ccdxxTii. 
'ealde gare quod indigent none 
numnee land yocant/ (See also 
dlxx. ' nane mannes land *), cccxcix. 
* furlang,* ccccvii. ^forlang, * heued 

lande,* coccxiiL 'fmiang^ ' hlmces, 
ccccxiv. *mar hlinces,* ccccxvii, 
'farerth akere,* ccccxviiL ^Jurlanges, 
cccczix. and xx. 'foryrthe,* * great- 
an hlinces,* and so on. Instances 
are equally numerous in the Abing- 

The Saxon Open Field System. 109 

There can, therefore, be no doubt that the ^ ^^^' ^^ ' 
fields of Saxon manors or villages were open fields 
divided into furlongs and strips, and having their 
headlands and linches. Even the little odds and i.oooyean 


ends of * no man's land ' are incidentally found to 
have their place in the Saxon open fields 1,000 years 

But how far back can these Saxon open fields be 
traced ? The answer is, as ^far ba ck as the laws of 
King Ine can be held to reach into the past. 

TEese^iaws were repuBlTshed by King Alfred as 
*The Dooms of Ine,' who came to the throne in a.d. 
188;_ In their first clause they claim to have been 
recorded by King Ine with the counsel and teaching 
of his father Cenred^ and of Hedde, his bishop (who 
was Bishop of Winchester from a.d. 676 to 705), and 
of Eorcenwold, his bishop (who obtained the see of 
London in 675) ; and so, if genuine, they seem to re- 
/^iresent what was s ettled_ ciisjomary jaw Jn Wessex 
f during the last half of the^ s eventh century — the 
century after the conquest of the greater part of 

In these laws there occurs a section which so 

/(Slekrly refers to open common fields divided into 

/ acres, and to common meadows also divided into 

ystrips or doles, that it would have been perfectly 

intelligible and reasonable if it had been included 

word for word in the record of the customs of the 

Hitchin manor as regards the three common fields 

and the green commons and Lammas land :— 

don charten and those of the Liber 
de Hyda. For lincee, see Hia, 
Abingdon, L pp. Ill, 147, 158, 188, 

259, 284, 315, 341, 404. Liber de 
Hyda, pp. 86, 103, 107, 176, 235. 

110 The English Village Community. 

Chap. IV. p^ Ceorle$ Gars-tune,^ 

(zlii.) Qip ceoplaf j»pf-cun 
hfebben j^mnnne. offe o^ep 
jeb&l-lanb co cynanne.^ hnbben 
fume jetjmeb hiopa bnl. pime 
n»bban.'3 . . . ecten hiopa ^e- 
mnnan ncepaf oppe 2»pf, j&n 
}9i ))onne }>€ f j^ac ajan. ^ 
^ebece[n] })am o^pum )»e hiopa 
bl§l jer^ebne. . . . 

Cf a CecrU^s grasS'tun (meadow). 

(42) If ceorlshave common mea- 
dow or other land divided into stripe ^ 
to fence, and some have fenced 
their strip, some have not, and . . . 
[stray cattle (?)] eat their common 
acres or grass, let those go who own 
the gap, and compensate the others 
who have fenced their strip. • . . 

There is here in the smallest possible compass the 

ytoost complete evidence that in the seventh century 

^ the fields of Wessex were common open fields, the 

V arable being divided into acres and the meadows into 

doles ^ ; and as the system is incidentally mentioned as 

a thing existing as a matter of course, it is not likely 

to have been suddenly or recently introduced. The 

evidence throws it back, therefore, at least to the 

earliest period of Saxon rule. 



The hold- Let US Dcxt ask whether there are traces of the 

i^'Lnd scattered ownership — the scattering all over the open 

y^"^^^^^' fields ofTKe " strips included in the holdings — which 

was so essential a characteristic of the system ; and, 

further, whether in tracing it back into early Saxon 

* Laws of King Ine. Ancient 
Laws, ^c,f of England, Thorpe, p. 

* It will he remembered that 
Lammas land is diTided into strips 
for the hay crop. In the Winslow 
Rolls, in the list of strips included 
in the Tirgate of John Moldeson 
were some strips or doles of meadow 

—hence d(M and geddl-land. That 
gedal-land • open fields divided into 
strips, see Siet. Abingdon (p. S04), 
where there is a charter, ▲.!>. 961, 
making a grant of * 9 mansas ' and 
' thas nigon hida licggead on gemang 
othran gedal-lande^ feldes gemane 
and mteda gemane and yrthland 

The Saxon Open Field System. Ill 

times any clue to its original meaning and intention Chap. iv . 
can be found. 

First, it may be stated generally that, when the 
nature and incidents of the holdings are examined 
hereafter, it will be found that throughout the period 
of Saxon rule, from the time of Edward the Confessor 
backward to the date of the laws of King Ine, 300 
years earlier, the holdings were mainly the same as 
those with which we have become familiar, viz. hidea^ 
half-hides, and yard-lands, and that, generally speak- 
ing, there were no other kinds of holdings the names 
of which are mentioned. 

That these Saxon hides and yard-lands were com- Holdings 
posed of scattered strips in the open fields, as they S»cattMid 
were afterwards, might well be inferred from the mere ^^^ 
fact that they bore the same names as those used after 
the Conquest. It would be strange indeed if the same 
names at the two dates meant entirely different things 
—if the virgate or yard-land before the Conquest was 
a thing wholly different from what it was after it. 

But there is other evidence than the mere names 
of the holdings. 

There is a general characteristic of the numerous 
Saxon charters of all periods, which, when carefully 
considered, can hardly have any other explanation 
than the fact that the holdings were composed not of 
contiguous blocks of land, but of scattered strips. 

It is this — that whatever be the subject of the 
grant made by the charter, i.e. whether it be a whole 
manor or township that is granted, or only some of 
the holdings in it, the boundaries appended are the 
boundaries of the whole manor or township. No 
doubt the royal gifts to the monastic houses generally 

112 The English Village Community. 

Chap^v. ^i(j consist of whole manors, and thus the boundaries 

The boun- in most cases naturally were the boundaries of the 

of whole whole, and could not be otherwise. But it was not 

manon, alwajTS 80. Thus, amoug the Abingdon charters 

there are two of Edward the Martyr, one of vii. 

hides (cassatos), in * Cingestune,' and another of xiii. 

* mansas ' in * Cyngestun,' one to the Church of St. 

Mary at Abingdon, the other to a person named 

jElfstan ; ^ and to both charters are appended the same 

boundaries in substantially the same words. And 

these are the boundaries of the whole township} 

There can hardly be any other explanation of this 
pecuharity than the fact that the holdings were not 
blocks of land, the boundaries of which could be 
easily given, but, in fact, like the hides and virgates 
after the Conquest, bundles of strips scattered over 
the open fields, and intermixed with strips belonging 
to other holdings. Indeed, there is in a charter of 
Bang Ethelred (a.d. 982) among the Abingdon series 
relating to five hides at * Cheorletun^ a direct confes- 
sion of the reason why in this case all boundaries 
are omitted. Instead of the usual boundaries of the 
whole township there is the statement that the estate 
is * the less distinctly defined by boundaries, quia 
jugera altrinsecus copulata adjacent ' — because the 
acres are intermixed.' 
the''*tere ^^ *^ hypothesis already suggested that the hides, 
shares. half-hidcs, virgatcs, and bovates were the shares in the 
results of the ploughing of the village plough teams 

» Vol. L pp. 3411-362. 

* So also see Codex Diploma" 
ticuSf dii. and dzvi., and cccclxvii. 
and cccxxzT. 

* Vol. L p. 384.^ Compare also 
the boundaries of Draitune, 'tKer 
under acer,* p. 248. Also the same 
expression, pp. 350 and 363. 

The Saxon Open Field System. 113 

— in other words, the number of strips allotted to each Chap. iv. 
holder in respect of the oxen contributed by him to 
the plough team of eight oxen — ^it is perfectly natural 
that in a grant of some only of the holdings the 
boundaries given should be those of the whole town- 
ship, viz. of the whole area, an intermixed share in 
which constituted the holding. 

There is another fact, which has, perhaps, never other en- 
yet been explained, but which is nevertheless per- 
fectly intelUgible on the same hypothesis. 

It will be remembered that there was observed m 
the Winslow example of a virgate a certain regular 
turn or rotation in the order of the strips in the vir- 
gates — that John Moldeson's strips almost always 
came next after the strips of one, and were followed 
by those of another, particular neighbour. Now this 
fact strongly suggests that originally the holdings had 
not always and permanently consisted of the same 
actual strips, but that once upon a time the strips 
were perhaps allotted afresh each year in the plough- 
ing according to a certain order of rotation, the turn 
of the contributor of two oxen coming twice as often 
as that of the contributor of one ox, and so making 
the virgate contain twice as many strips as the bovate. 
This, and this alone, would give the requisite elas- 
ticity to the system so as to allow, if necessary, of the 
admission of new-comers into the village community, 
and new virgates into the village fields. 

So long as the Umits of the land were not reached 
a fresh tenant would rob no one by adding his oxen to 
the village plough teams, and receiving in regular turn 
the strips allotted in the ploughing to his oxen. In 
the working of the system the strips of a new holding 


114 The English Village Community 

Chap. IV. would be intermixed with the others by a perfectly 
natural process. 

Now, that something like this process did actually 
happen in Saxon times is clear from the way in which 
the Church was provided for under the Saxon laws. 

The mode In the Ught which is given by the knowledge of 

in which ,., /.ii ^^ ^ . 1. 

tuke$ were what the Open field system really was, there is nothmg 
***• intrinsically impossible even in the alleged but doubt- 
ful donation by King Ethelwulf of one-tenth of the 
whole land of England by one stroke of the pen to 
the Church. It has been said that he could not do 
it except on the royal domains without robbing the 
landowners and their tenants of their holdings. It 
would be so if the holdings were blocks. But there 
is nothing impossible in the supposition that a Saxon 
king should enact a law that every tenth strip 
ploughed by the common ploughs throughout the 
villages of England should be devoted to the Church. 
It would create no confusion or dislocation anywhere. 
And it would have meant just the same thing if 
Ethelwulf had enacted that every tenth virgate, or 
every tenth holding, should be devoted to the Church. 
For the sum of every tenth strip ploughed by the 
villagers, when the strips were tied, as it were, to- 
gether into the bundles called virgates or hides, would 
amount to every tenth virgate, or hide, as the case 
might be. Nor would there be anything strange in 
his freeing the strips thus granted to the Church from 
all secular services.^ 

The alleged donation may be spurious, the docu- 
ments relating to it may be forgeries, but there is 

^ See, with regard to this dona- 
don, Kemble's Saxcm in England, 

c. z. ; and Stubbs' Comt, Hist, L 
pp. 262-71. 

The Saxon Open Field System. 115 

nothing impossible or unlikely in the thing itself. Chap, iv . 
And the very fact of the forgery of such a grant is 
evidence of its intrinsic possibiUty. And, whatever 
may be said as to the donation of Ethelwulf, whether 
it be spurious or not, there are other proofe that 
something of the kind was afterwards effected. 

In No. XXV.^ of the ' Excerptiones ' of Archbishop ^fjj^^^ 
Egbert (a.d. 735-766) it is ordained that *to every yarcWandP 

* church shall be allotted one complete holding 

* (mansa), and that this shall be free from all but 

* ecclesiastical services.' This was simply putting the 
priest in the position of a recognised village official, 
like the prcepositus or the faber. They held their vir- 
gates free of service, and perhaps their strips were 
ploughed by the common ploughs in return for their 
services without their contributing oxen to the 
manorial plough team. The Domesday Survey proves 
that, in a great number of instances at least, room 
had in fact been made in the village community for 
the priest and his virgate? 

The following passages in the Saxon laws also T>theuken 
show that for some time, at all events, the tithes were t.«. every 
actually taken, not in the shape of every tenth sheaf, ' 
but exactly in accordance with the plan suggested by 
the spurious grant of Ethelwulf, by every tenth strip 
being set aside for the Church in the ploughing. 

In the laws of King Ethebred^ (a.d. 978-1016) 

» Thorpe, p 828. 'Item— 
Ut unicuique adcdesise vel una 
mansa integra absque alio senritio 
adtribuatur, et presbiteri in eis con- 
etituti non de decimLs, neque de ob- 
lationibuB fidelium, nee de domibua, 
neque de atriis vel ortis juxta 8dc- 
cleaiam positis, neque de prsMcripta 

mansa, aliquod servitium faciant 
prsBter secclesiasticum ; et si aliquid 
amplius habuerint, inde senioribus 
suis secundum patrite morem, de- 
bitum servitium impendant.' 

* See especially the Survey 
Middlesex, and supra pp. 02-05. 

> Thorpe,p. 146. 

I 2 

116 TTie English Village Community. 

OnAT^. there is a command that every Christian man shall 
' pay his tithe justly, always as the plough traverses 
* the tenth " aicer" ' 

VII. Snb pice cpiftenpa 
manna ^ehjnlc. f he hif Dpih- 
cene hif ceotSunje. 4 fpa fe^ 
fulh ))one ceo^an ncep je^i. 
fuhclice jelij&jTe.beljo&ef milcfe.^ 

And be it known to every 
Christian man that he pay to hie 
lord his tithe rightly always aa the 
plough traverses the tenth acre, on 
peril of Qod's mercy. 

And we command, that every 
man . . . give his churchshot and 
just tithe^ . . . that iB^asthe plough 
traverses the tenth acre. 

Further, in a Latin law of King Ethelred there is 
the following direction : — 

Et pr»eipimus, ut omnis homo 
• . . det cyricseeattum et rectam 
dedmam suam, . • . hoc est, sicut 
antrum peragrabit decimam ac- 

And that this applied to land in villenage as well 
as to land in demesne is clear from a still earlier law 
of King Edgar (a.d. 959, 975) : ' That every tithe be 

* rendered to the old minster to which the district 
'^ belongs, and that it be then so paid both from a 

* thanks in-land and from geneat-land, so as the plough 

* traverses it' 

1. D»c fynbon )>onne »peft. 
•pEobef cjrpican fjn elcef pihcef 
]^t$e. "} man a^ipe lelce teo- 
tSun^e CO )>am ealban mynfcpe 
}>e feo hypnef co-h^C. ") ^ ry 
)K>nne fpa xelssfc. aejtJep je op 
)>e2nef m-lanbe %e op ^eneac- 
lanbe. pT* fpa hic feo pilh 36- 

There is very little reference in the Domesday 
Survey to the churches and their tithes, but there 
happens to be one entry at least in which there seems 

1. These then are first: that 
God's churches be entitled to every 
right ; and that every tithe be ren- 
dered to the old minster to which 
the district belongs ; and that it be 
then so paid, both from a thane's 
in4andy and from geneat4<tnd, so as 
the plough traverses it. 

» Thorpe, p. 146. 
< Ibid, p. 144. So also in the 
Laws of Cnuty ' The tenth acre as 

the plough traverses it.' Thorpe, 
p. 166. 

» Ibid. p. 111. 

The Saxon Open Field System. 117 

to be a clear reference to this practice of the tithes Chap^v. 
being taken in actual strips and acres. It relates to Aeruot 
the church at Wallop^ in Hampshire (the place from DomMdny 
which the family name of the Earls of Portsmouth is ^'^•J^- 
derived), and it states that ' to the church there per- 

* tains one hide, also half of the tithes of the manor, 

* also the whole kirkshot. And of the tithes of the 

* villani xlvi. pence and half of the acres. There is in 

* addition a little church to which pertain viii. acres 

* of the tithes: ^ 
It may be taken then as certain that the holdings 

in villenage in the open fields of the Saxon ^ hams ' 
and * tuns ' were composed, like the virgate of John 
Moldeson, in the manor of Winslow, centuries after- 
wards, of strips scattered, one in this furlong and 
another in that, aU over the village fields ; and it may 
be taken as already almost certain that the scatterini? 
of the strips was in sc;^Tway co^^S^^dth the order 

oxen contributed^ to the village plough teams. 


The law that every tenth strip as it was traversed strips 
by the plough was to be set apart for the tithe is ^ ^^ of 
certainly the clearest hint that has yet been discovered «>^^o"» 
of the perhaps annual redistribution of the strips 
among the holdings in a certain order of rotation, 

* D. i. 38 h, Wallope (Hauta). j * norom XLVI. denarii et medietas 
' Ibi ncclesia cui pertinet una hida * agrorum/ 

'et medietas decimsd manerii et i <Ibie6tadhuc8eccle8iola,adquam 
< totum Girset, et de decima villa- ' pertinent yiii. acrae de decima/ 

118 The English Village Communitg. 

Chap. IV. though it is possible of course that a redistribution 
being once made, to make room for the acres set 
apart for the tithe, the same strips might always 
thereafter be assigned to the tithe and to each parti- 
cular yard-land year after year without alteration. 

What is still wanted to lift the explanation already 
offered of the connexion of the grades of holdings in 
the open fields and the scattering of the strips in 
each holding, with the team of 8 oxen, put of the 
region of hypothesis into that of ascertained fact is 
the discovery if possiBrersomewhere actually at work of 
the system of common ploughing with eight oxen, and 
•ccording the assignment of the strips in respect of the oxen to 
contri- their several owners. Were it possible to watch such 
an example of the actual process going on, there pro- 
bably would be disclosed by some little detail of its 
working the reason and method of the scattering of 
the strips, and of the order of rotation in which they 
seem to have been allotted. 

Now it happens that such an instance is at hand, 
Affording every opportunity for examination under 
Thesysumuhe most favourable circumstances possible. We find 
under the it in the aucicnt Welsh laws, representing to a large 
Uw^\ extent ancient Welsh traditions collected and codified 
Waiee. ^^ ^y^q tenth century, but somewhat modified after- 
wards, and coming down to us in a text of the four- 
"^teenth century. In these laws is much trustworthy 
evidence from which might be drawn a very graphic 
picture of the social and economic condition of the 
(jinconquered Welsh people, at a time parallel to the 
centuries of Saxon rule in England. And amongst 
other things fortunately there is an almost perfect 
picture of the method of ploughing. Nor is it too 

^ .- 

The Saxon Open Field System. 


.•^much to say that in this picture we have a key which CharIV. 

completely fits the lock, and explains the riddle of 

Ihe English open field system. 

• For the ancient Welsh laws describe a simple form 
f of the open field system aL aP earlier stage than that 

in which we have yet seen it— at a time^^ fact, when 

it was a hying jy stem at^^x)rk, and everything about 

G't had a present anoobvious meaning, and its details 
rere consistent and intelligible. 

Let us examine this Welsh evidence. 

Precisely as the modem statute acre had its origin Th« ^^^^ 

... 6rw8, or 

in the Saxon cecer^ which was an actual division of the acre strips 

fields, so that the Saxon ceceras were the strips divided 

by balks — the seliones — of the open field system ; so 

the modem Welsh word for acre as a quantity of land 

is * erw^' and the same word in its ancient meaning in 

the Welsh laws was the actual strip in the open fields. 

This is placed beyond a doubt by the fact that 

its measurements are carefully given over and over 

again, and that it was divided from its neighbours by nivicM by 

an unploughed balk of turf two furrows wide.^ 

The Welsh laws describe the primitive way in 
which the erw was to be measured. In one province 
this was to be done by a man holding a rod of a cer- Maasuwd 
tain length and stretching it on both sides of him to 
fix the width, while the length is to be a certain mul- 
tiple of its breadth.* In other provinces of Wales the 
width was to be fixed by a rod equal in length to the 

^ (5) The breadth of a boundary 
(Jin) between two trevs, if it be of 
Umd^ is a fathom and a half. . . . 

(7) Between two erws, two 
furrows {Ancient Laws, Sfc, of 
Wale$, p. 373). 'The boundary 

(tervyn) between two erws, two 
furrows, and that is called a balk 
(synach).' (P. 626.) 

* Ancient Laws: Venedotian 
Code, pp. 81 and 90. Lege$ WaU 
lica, p. 831. 

120 The English Village Community. 

^^^•^- long yoke used in ploughing with four oxen abreast.^ 
The erw thus ascertained closely resembled in shape 
the English strips, though it varied in size in different 
districts, and was less than the modern acre in its 

Next there was, according to the Welsh laws, a 
certain regulated rotation of ownership in the erws 
* as they were traversed by the plough^' resulting from a 
well-ordered system of co-operative ploughing. In 
the Venedotian Code especially are elaborate rules 
as to the ' cyvar ' or co-aration^ and these expose the 
system in its ancient form actually at work, with great 
vividness of detail. 

The chief of these rules are given below,* from 

^ Ancient Law§, p. 263 {Dme- 
turn Code) ; p. 374 ( Otpentum Code). 

* Ancient Lavfe, p. 163. ( Vene^ 
doHan Code.) 
XXIV. Cf CoAiUagethu treaU. 

1. Whoever shall engage in co- 
tillage with another, it is right for 
them to give surety for perform- 
ance, and mutually join hands; 
and, after they haye done that, to 
keep it until the tye be completed : 
the tye is twelve erws. 

2. The measure of the erw, has 
it not been before set forth P 

8. The first erw belongs to the 
jdoughman ; the second to the 
irons ; the lliird to the exterior sod 
ox; the fourth to the exterior 
sward ox, lest the yoke should be 
broken ; and the fifth to the driver: 
and so the erws are appropriated, 
from best to best, to the oxen, 
thence onward, unless the yoke be 
stopped between them, unto the 
last ; and after that the plough erw, 

which is called the plough-bote 
cyvar ; and that once in the year 

10. Every one is to bring his 
requisites to the ploughing, whether 
ox, or irons, or other things per- 
taining to him; and after every- 
thing is brought to them, the 
ploughman and the driver are to 
keep the whole safely, and use 
them as well as they would their 

The driver is to yoke in the 
oxen carefully, so that they be not 
too tight, nor too loose ; and drive 
them so as not to break their 
hearts: and if damage happen to 
them on that occasion, he is to 
make it good ; or else swear that 
he used them not worse than his 

12. The ploughman is not to 
pay for the oxen, unless they be 
bruised by him ; and if he bruise 
either one or the whole, let him pay. 

The Saxon Open Field System. 121 

which it will be seen that in the co-tillage the team, Ch-ip. nr. 
as in England and Scotland, was assumed to be of Team of 
eight oxen. And those who join in co-ploughing ^T 
must bring a proper contribution, whether oxen or '^'^ 
plough irons, handing them over during the common 
ploughing to the charge of the common ploughman 
and the driver, who together are bound to keep and 
use everything as well as they would do their own, 
till, the co-ploughing being done, the owners take their 
own property away. 

So the common ploughing was arranged. But 
how was the produce of the partnership to be divided ? 
This, too, is settled by the law, representing no 
doubt immemorial custom. The first erw ploughed Rotmtionin 
was to go to the 'ploughman, the second to the irons, cording to 
the third to the outside sod ox, the fourth to the out- ' ^*"* 
side sward ox, the fifth to the driver, the sixth, 
seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth, and eleventh to the other 
six oxen in order of worth ; and lastly, the twelfth was 
the plough erw, for ploughbote, i.e. for the mainte- 
nance of the woodwork of the plough ; and so, it is 
stated, ' the tie of 12 erws was completed.' Further, 

or exonerate himself. The plough* 
man ib to aflsist the driver in yoking 
the oxen ; but he is to loosen only 
the two short-yoked. 

18. After the co-tiUage shall he 
completed, every one is to take his 
requisites with him home. 

16. If there should be a dispute 
about bad tillage between two co- 
tiUerSy let the erw of the plough- 
man be examined as to the depth, 
length, and breadth of the furrow, 

and let every one's be completed 


. • . • • 

S8. Whoever shall own the 
irons is to keep them in order, that 
the ploughman and driver be not 
impeded ; and they are to have no 

The driver is to furnish the 
bows of the yokes with wythes; 
and, if it be a long team, the small 
rings, and pegs of the bows. 

See also Owmtian Code, p. 854 ; 
and the Lege$ WalUce, p. 801. 

122 The English Village Community. 

^^ "^•^^ - if any dispute should arise between the co-tillers as 
to the fairness of the ploughing, the common-sense 
rule was to be followed that the erw which fell to the 
ploughman should be examined as to the depth, 
length, and breadth of the furrows and every one's 
erw must be ploughed equally well. 

Here, then, in the Welsh laws is the clearest evi- 
dence not only of the division of the common fields 
by turf balks two furrows wide into the long narrow 
strips called erws^ or acres, and roughly corresponding 
in shape, though not in area, with those on English 
fields, but also of the very rules and methods by 
which their size and shape, as well as the order of 
their ownership, were fixed in Wales. 
It is the And this order in the allotment of the erws turns 

Svition of out to be an ingenious system for equitably dividing 
S*ca3Sii^ year by year the produce of the co-operative ploughing 
*«®- between the contributors to it. 

Now, without entering at present into the question 
of its connexion with the tribal system in Wales,^ 
which will require careful consideration hereafter,, 
several interesting and usefiil flashes of Ught may be 
drawn from this glimpse into the methods and rules 
of the ancient Welsh system of co-operative plough- 
The siie of In the first place, ancient Welsh ploughing was 
Deceesitates evidently not like the classical ploughing of the sunny 
2^^"^ south, a mere scratching of the ground with a light 
plough, which one or two horses or oxen could draw^ 
In the Welsh laws a team of eight oxen, as already said, 
is assumed to be necessary. And hence the necessity 
of co-operative ploughing. The plough was evidently 
heavy and the ploughing deep, just as was the case in 

The Saxon Open Field System. 123 

the twelfth century, and probably from still earlier to Chaj^iv. 
quite modern times in Scotland, where, as we have 
seen, the plough was of the same heavy kind, and the 
team of eight or of twelve oxen. And it is ci>rious 
to observe that the Welsh, like the Scotch oxen in 
modem times, were driven four abreast, i.e. yoked 
four to a yoke. So that, as already suggested, the 
plough was aptly described by the monks in their 
mediaeval Latin as a * caruca,' and the ploughed land 
as a *carucate.' 

But the most interesting point about the ancient ^n^ the 
Welsh co-operative ploughing was the fact that the with the 
key to a share in the produce was the contribution of ^^^ 
one or more oxen to the team. He who contributed 
one ox was entitled to one erw in the twelve. He 
who contributed two oxen was entitled to two erws. 
He who contributed a whole yoke of four oxen would 
receive four erws, while only the ow^ier of the full team 
of eight oxen could possibly do without the co-opera- 
tion of others in ploughing. Surely this Welsh evi- 
dence satisfactorily verifies the hypothesis already 
suggested by the term bovate, and by the allotment 
of two oxen as outfit to the yard-land or virgate, and 
by the taking of tithes in the shape of every tenth 
strip as it was traversed by the plough, and lastly by 
the order of rotation in the strips disclosed by the 
Winslow example. 

It explains how the possession of the oxen came 
to be in Saxon, as probably in still earlier British or 
Roman times, the key to the position of the holder, 
and his rank in the hierarchy of the village com- 
munity. And it points to the Saxon system of hides 
and yard-lands having possibly sprung naturally out 

124 Tlie English Village Community. 


Hence the 
kme a 

bundle of 



^^ "^•^^ ' of pre-existing British or Boman arrangements, rather 
than as having been a purely Saxon importation. 

It also suggests a ready explanation of how when 
the common tillage died out, and the strips included in 
a hide, yard-land, or virgate, instead of varying with 
each year's arrangements of the plough teams, became 
occupied by the villein tenant year after year in per- 
manent possession, there would naturally be left, as a 
survival of the ancient system, that now meaningless 
and inconvenient scattering of the strips forming a 
holding all over the open fields which in modem 
times so incensed Arthur Young, and made the En- 
closure Acts necessary. 

There is, lastly, another point in which the Welsh 
laws of co-aration suggest a clue to the reason and 
origin of a widely spread trait of the open field 
system. Why were the strips in the open field system 
uniformly so small ? The acre or erw was obviously 
a furrow -long for the convenience of the ploughing. 
But what fixed its breadth and its ai'ea ? This, too, is 
explained. According to the Welsh laws it was the 

piougiung. measure of a day's co-ploughing. This is clear from 
two passages in the laws where it is called a ' cyvar^ 
or a * co-ploughing.' ^ And it would seem that a day's 
ploughing ended at midday, because in the legal 
description of a complete ox it is required to plough 
only to midday.* The Gallic word for the acre or 
strip, ^joumel^ in the Latin of the monks ^ jurnalisy 2j\A 

The strip 

* Ancient Laws, (J-c, p. 150, Vene" 
datian Code. The worth of * winter 
tilth of a cyvar two legal pence ; ' 
and 80 p. 286, Dtmetian Code, 

P. 163. * The plough erw, which 

LB called the ploughbot cyvar.' 

P. 354, Owentian Code. 'The 
worth of one day*8 ploughing is 
two legal pence.' 

* Ancient Laws, ^c, p. 134. 

The Saxon Open Field System. 125 

sometimes diumalis^^ also points to a day's ploughing ; ^^"^^ ^^* 
while the German word * morgen ' for the same strips 
in the German open fields still more clearly points to 
a day's work which ended, Uke the Welsh * cyvar/ at 

* See Da Gauge under ' Diumalis,' who quoteB a peaaege of ▲.D. 704. 



Kod tuna 


Chap. V. HAVING HOW ascertained that the open field system 
was prevalent during Saxon, and probably pre- 
Saxon times, we have next to inquire whether the 

* hams ' and * tuns ' to which the common fields be- 
longed were manors — i.e. estates with a village com- 
munity in serfdom upon them— or whether, on the 
contrary, there once dwelt within them a free village 
community holding their yard-lands by freehold or 
allodial tenure. 

Let us at once dismiss from the question the word 

* manor.' It was the name generally used in the 
Domesday Survey, for a thing described in the Survey 
as already existing at the time of Edward the Con- 
fessor. The estate called a manor was certainly as 
much a Saxon institution under the Confessor as it 
was a Norman one afterwards. 

The Domesday book itself does not always adhere 
to this single word ^ manor' throughout its pages. 

The Saxon Manor and Serfdom. 


The word manerium gives place in the Exeter Survey ^=^- ^ 
to the word villa for the whole manor, and mansio for 
the manor-house ; and the same words, villa and 
mansiOy are also used in the instructions ^ given at 
the commencement of the Inquisitio Eliensis. It is 
perfectly clear, then, that what was called a manor or 
tnlla^ both in the west and in the east of England, was 
in fact the estate of a lord with a village community 
in villenage upon it. 

In the Boldon Book also the word viUa is used 
instead of manor. 

So in Saxon documents the whole manor or estate 
was called by various names, generally * ham ' or 

* ft/n.' 

In King Alfred's will* estates in the south-east of ^mg ^ 
England, including the villages upon them, which by wiu. 
Norman scribes would have been called manors, are 
described as hams (the ham at such a place). In the 
old English version of the will given in the ' liber de 
Hyda ' * the word ' iumne ' is used to translate * ham,* 
and in the Latin version the word ' villa.'* 

In the Saxon translation of the parable of the ftrabieof 
prodigal son, the country estate of the citizen — the ga! Ion, '" 

* burhsittenden man ' — to which the prodigal was sent 
to feed swine, and where he starved upon the ' bean- 
cods ' that the swine did eat, was the citizen's * tune.' • 

So that the * ham^ ' and ' tuns ' of Saxon times 
were in fact commonly private estates with villages 
upon them, i.e, manors. 

This fact is fully borne out by the series of Saxon 

* ' — vUlani umtucujtuqtie vUkB, 
Deinde quomodo vocatur tnansio ' 
<f. 407). 

3 Liber de Hyda, p. 6S. 

» Id. p. 68. * Id, p. 72. 

* Luke XT. 16. 

128 The English ViUage Community. 

Chap. V. charters from first to last. They generally, as ah^eady 
Granu of said, Contain grants of whole manors in this sense, in- 
manors, cluding the viUagcs upon them, with all the village 
fields, pastures, meadows, &c., embraced within the 
boundaries given. And these boundaries are the 
boundaries of the whole village or township — i.e. of the 
whole estate. 

Further, a careful examination of Anglo-Saxon 
documents will show that the Saxon manors, not only 
at the time of Edward the CJonfessor, as shown by 
the Domesday Survey, but also long previously, were 
divided into the land of the lord's demesne and the land 
in villenagej though the Norman phraseology was not 
Saxon yet used. The lord of the manor was a thane or 
* hlaford.* The demesne land was the thane's inland. 
All classes of villeins were called geneats. The land in 
villenage was the geneat-land^ or the gesettes-land, or 
sometimes the gafolrland. And further, this geneat-, 
or gesetteS'^ or gafolrland was composed, like the later 
land in villenage, of hides and yard-lands, whilst the 
villein tenants of it, as in the Domesday Survey, were 
divided mainly into two classes: (1) the ^e^r^ (villani 
proper), or holders of yard-lands ; and (2) the cottiers 
with their smaller holdings. Beneath these two classes 
of holders of geneat land were the theows or slaves, 
answering to the servi of the Survey. Lastly, there 
is clear evidence that this was so as early as the 
date of the laws of King Ine, which claim to repre- 
sent the customs of the seventh century. 

To the proof of these points attention must now 
be directed. 

The Saxon Manor and Serfdom. 



In order to make these points clear, attention must 
be turned to a remarkable document, the Saxon ver- 
sion of which dates probably from the tenth, and the 
Latin translation from the twelfth century.^ 

It is entitled the * Rectitudines Sinqtdarum Person- The; i?#^ 
arunij which may be translated * the services due from tenth 

• t ceDcarr. 

various persons. 

It commences with two general sections, the first 
relating to the services of the * thane^ and the second 
to those of the * geneaV 

DeceNes ltchu. 

Dejenef laju if f 
he f^ hif boc-pihcef 
pyp^e. ;) -p he tJpeo 
5inc op hif lanbe bo. 
pyjib-pepelb. *] buph- 
boce ;) bpyc-jepeopc. 
€ac op manejum lan- 
bura mape lanb-pihc 
apijx CO cynijep je- 
banne. ppilce ip beop- 
heje CO cyni^ep hame. 
"] pcopp CO ppitJ-pcipe. 
"] pee-peapb. ■] heapob- 
peapb. ;) p^ib-peapb. 
slmep-peoh. •] cypic- 
pceac. 1 ro8eni3;e 
o^epemipclice^mjc *.* 


Taini leiz est, ut sit 
dignus rectitadine 
testamenti sni, et ut 
ita faciat pro terra 
sua, Boilicet, ezpedi- 
tiomem, burh-botam et 
brig-botam. Et de 
multis terris majus 
landirectum exurgit 
ad bannum regis, sio- 
ut est deorhege ad 
mansionem regiam et 
Boeorpum inhostiemn, 
et custodiam maris 
et capitis, et pads, et 
elmeiE^eoh, id est pe- 
cunia elemosine et 
ciricsceatmD, et alie 
res multimode. 


The theme's law Thane's 
is that he be worthy ^^^^ 
of hie boc-rights, 
a^ that he do three 
things/or hia land^ 
fyrd-fsereld, burh- 
bot, and brig-bot. 
Also frovn many 
kmds more Umd-eer- 
vices are due at the 
kin^i hann^ as deer- 
hedging at the king*8 
bam, and apparel 
/or the gttard, and 
sea-ward and bead- 
ward ofu^fyrd-ward 
and almrfee and 
kirkshot, and many 
other varioua things. 

^ See Ancient Laws and Ineti- 
tuta of England, Thorpe, p. 185. 
This document was the subject of a 

special treatise by Dr. Heinrich 
Leo, Halle, 1842. 


130 The English Village Community. 

^^^•^- neNexTes riht. 

or rillein's 


Eeneac-pihc if mif- 
clic be tSam tie on 
lanbe fcsenc. On pi- 
mon he fceal lanb- 
japol ryllan ;) jaepf- 
fpyn on jeape. ;) pi- 
ban -^ auepian *] labe 
Iseban. pypcan "] hla- 
|:opb peopmian. "] pi- 
pan *] mapan. beop- 
heje heapan. "} fsece 
halban. bjrlian. "] 
buph he^ejian nije 
papan to ciine peccan. 
cypic-fceac fyllan "] 
aelmer-peoh. heapob- 
peapbe healban -3 
hopf-peapbe. aepen- 
bian. pyp pP^^ nyp. 
ppa hpybep ppa hinr. 
roon co-C8ect$ *. 


Villani rectum est 
varium et multiplex^ 
secundum quod in 
terra statutum est. 
In quibusdam terns 
debet dare landga- 
blum et gsersspin, id 
est, porcum herbagii, 
et equitare vel ave- 
riare, et summagium 
ducere, operari, et do- 
minum suum firmare, 
metere et falcare, de- 
orhege cedere, et sta- 
bilitatem obeervare, 
edificare et circum- 
sepire, novam faram 
dare et almcsfeoh, id 
est, pecuniam elemo- 
sine, heafod-wardam 
custodire et horswar- 
dam, in nuncium ire, 
longe vel prope, quo- 
cunque dicetur ei. 


The geneafs ser- 
vices are variotis as 
an the land is fixed. 
On some he shall 
pay land-gafol and 
grass-swine yearlt/^ 
and ride, and carry ^ 
and lead loads ; 
work and support 
his lord, and reap 
and mow, cut deer- 
hedge and keep it 
up, build, and hedge 
the burh, make new 
roads /or the tun : 
pay kirk shot and 
almsfee : keep head- 
ward and horse- 
ward: go errands 
far or near wher- 
ever he is directed* 

Then follow what really are sub-sections of the 
latter clause, and they describe the services of the 
various classes of geneats ; first of the cottiers. 


Koce-petlan piht. 
be tSam t$e on lanbe 
ftenc. On piimon he 
pceal celce GDon-bsje 
opep ^eapep pj^ppc hip 
lapofibe pypcan. o5^ 
.III. ba^ap aelcpe pii- 
can on hsppepc 


Cotsetle rectum est 
juxta quod in terra 
constitutumest. Apud 
quosdam debet omni 
die Lune per anni 
spatium operari do- 
mino suo, et tribus 
diebus unaquaque 
septimana in Augusto. 
Apud quosdam opera- 
tur per totum Augus- 
tum, omni die, et 


The cottier*s ser- 
vices are what on 
the land is fixed. 
On some he shall 
each Monday in the 
year work for his 
lord, and three days 
a week in harvest. 

The Saxon Manor and Serfdom. 



ne f^eapp he lanb-japol 
fjrllan. pim je-by- 
piat$ [.v.] aecepap co 
liabbanne. mape ^ 
hic on lanbe t$eap py. 
*] CO lyrel hic bit$ beo 
hic a la&rpe. pop6an 
hip peopc pceal beon 
opc-psebe. pylle hip 
heop5-p8eni]; on hal- 
^n Dunpep bce^;. eal 
ppa aslcan ppijean 
men jebype*. •} pe- 
pije hip hlapopbep m- 
lanb. jip him man 
beobe. sec pae-peapbe "] 
sec cynijepbcop-heje. 
3 9SC ppilcan t^injan 
ppilc hip mats pjr. •3 
pjUe hip cypic-pceac 
CO COapcinup mcep- 


unam acram avene 
metit pro diumale 
opere. Ethabeat gar- 
bam snam quam pne- 
positus vel minister 
domini dabit ei. Non 
dabit landgablum. 
Debet habere quinque 
acras ad perhaben- 
dum, pins si oonsue- 
tudo sit ibi, et parum 
nimis est si minus 
sit quod deservit,quia 
sepius est operi Ulius. 
Del super heorSpe- 
nig in sancto die 
Jovis, sicut omnis li- 
ber flEboere debet, et 
adquietet inland do- 
mini soi, si submo- 
nitio fiat de sewarde, 
id est de cnstodia 
maris, vel de regis 
deorhege, et ceteris 
rebus que sue men- 
sure sunt ; et det 
suum cyricsoeatum in 
festo Scl Martini. 


Chap. V. 

He ought not to 
pay land-gafoL He 
ought to have five 
acres in his holding^ 
more if it he O^e 
custom on the land^ 
and too little it is if 
it he less: heeause 
his work is often 
required. He pays 
hearth-penny on 
Holy Thursday y as 
pertains to every 
freemany and de- 
fends his lorcTs in" 
landt if hs is re- 
quiredf from sea- 
ward and from 
king's deer-hedge, 
and from Mu:h things 
€U hefit his degree. 
And he pays his kirh- 
shot at Martinmas, 

Then the services of the gebur or holder of a 
yard-land are described as follows : — 

neBURes ceRiHTe. 

Debup-^epihca pyn 
miphce. jehpap h^ 
pjrn hepije. j^hpap eac 
mebeme. on pumen 
lanbe ip ^ he pceal 
pypcan co pic-peopce 
•u. ba^ap. rpilc peopc 
ppilc him man csecS 
Ofep seapep pyppc. 
selcpe pucan. -^ on 
heppepc .III bajap co 


Geburi consuetu- 
dinee inveniuntur 
multimode, et ubi 
sunt onerose et ubi 
sunt leviores aut me- 
dic. In quibusdam 
terris operatur opus 
septimane, 11. dies, 
sic opus sicut ei dice- 
tur per anni spatiom, 
omni septimana; et 

K 2 


The Oehur^s ser- Gebai^s 
vices are various^ in 9erv\ee%, 
some places heavy ^ 
in others modereUe, 
On some land he 
mttst work at week- 
work two days iU 
such work M he is 
required tltrough the 
year every week^ 
and at ha/rvest three 

132 The English Village Community. 

Chap. V. 





ceBURes ceRiHTe. 

pic-peopce. ^ op Ean- 
belmsffe ol$ 6afrpan 
.III. 311: he apepatS ne 
tSeapp he pypcan t$a 
hpile i$e hif hopp uce 
bi6. pe fceal p^Uan 
on COichaelep maeppe- 
baei; .X. ^apol-p. -} on 
GOaptinup mseppe-be; 
•xxiii. pypcpa bepep. 
^. II. henpujelap. on 
6aptpan an jeonj 
pceap. o6t$e .11. p. "} 
he pceal licjan op 
GOapcmup mceppan otS 
€apcpan sec hlapopbep 
palbe. ppa ope ppa him 
co-bejaet^. *] op i$ani 
ciroan tSe man spepc 
epet$ ot$ GDapcinup 
msppan he pceai 
selcpe pucan epian .1. 
fficep. 3 paeban pylp 
f pceb 00 hlapopbep 
bepne. co-eacan tarn 
.III. aecepap co bene. 
"J .11. CO J«pp-yp€e. 
jyp he mapan ^ppep 
bet$yppe^nne eapnije 
[epije ?] ttep ppa him 
man ^apije. pip 
2auol-ypt$e .111. aecepap 
epi^e "} pape op hip 
ajanum bepne. "} pylle 
hip heopS-penij. cpe- 
^en *] cpejen peban 
enne heabop-hunb. 
T 8b1c ^ebup pylle .vi. 
hlapap ^m m-ppane 
iSonne he hip heopbe 
CO msep-cene bpipe. 
On tSam pj^lpum lanbe 
te t$€op p«ben on- 
pcaencjebupe jebypetS 
f him man co lanb- 


in Augusto III. dies 
pro septimanali opera- 
tione, et a feeto Can- 
delanun ad usque 
Pascha iii. Si ave- 
riat, non oogitur ope- 
raii quamdia equos 
ejus foris moratur. 
Dare debet in festo 
Scl Michaelis x. d. de 
gablo, et Sci Martini 
die xxiii., et sesta- 
rium ordei, et 11. gal- 
Unas. Ad Pascha i. 
ovem juvenem vel 

II. d. Et jacebit a 
festo Sci Martini 
usque ad Pascha ad 
fieJdam domini sui, 
quotiens ei pertinebit. 
Et a termino quo 
primitus arabitur 
usque ad festum Sci 
Martini arabit una- 
quaque septimana i. 
acram, et ipse parabit 
semen domini sui in 
horreo. Ad bsec iii. 
acras preoum, et duas 
de herbagio. Si plus 
indigeat herbagio, ara- 
bit proinde sicut ei 
permittatur. De ara- 
tura gabli sui arabit 

III. acrasy et semina- 
bit de horreo suo et 
dabit suum heorSpe- 
nig; et duo et duo 
pascant unum molos- 
sum. Et omnis ge- 
burua det vi. panes 
porcario curie quando 
gregem suum minabit 
in pastinagium. In 
ipsa terra ubi bee 


days/or week- work, 
and from Candle- 
mas to Easter three. 
If he do carrying 
he has not to work 
while hia horse is 
out. He shall pay 
on Miehaelmas Day 
X. gafol-pence, arid 
on Martinmas Day 
xxiiL sesters of bar- 
ley and two hens; 
(U Easter a young 
sheep or two pence ; 
and he shall lie 
from Martinmas to 
Easter at his lord^s 
fold as often as he 
is told. And from 
the time that they 
first plough to Mar- 
tinmas he shall each 
week plough one 
a>cre, and prepare 
himself the seed in 
his lord*s bam. Also 
iii acres bene-work, 
and ii. to grass- 
yrth. If he needs 
more grass then he 
ploughs for it as 
he is (Ulowed. For 
his gafol-yrth he 
ploughs iii. a^eSy 
and sows it from 
his own ham. And 
he pays his hearth- 
penny. Two and 
two feed one houndy 
and ecuh gebur gives 
yi. loaves to the 
swineherd when he 
drives his herd to 
mast. On that l<ind 
where this custom 

The Saxon Manor and Serfdom. 


ceBURes ceRiHTe. 

fecene fylle .11. oxan 
;j .1. cu. "] .VI rceap. 
"} .711. aecefiaf ^efa- 
pene on hif jypbe 
lanbep popiSi^e opefi f 
jeap ealle i;epihcu $e 
him co-jebypijean. -} 
fylle him man col co 
hif peopce ;] anbla- 
nian co hif hufe. 
Donne him pop5-fit$ 
jebypije jyme hij- 
hlapopb 5cef he laep e I • 

Deof lanb-laju 
fcsnc on funian 
ianbe. ^ehpap hic if f pa 
pap eac leohqie. pop- 
hum ealle lanb-pba ne 
fyn ^elice. On f umen 
Ianbe ^ebup fceal 
fjrllan hunij-japol. on 
f uman mece-japol. on 
fuman ealu - ^^pol. 
pebepet^e pcipehealbe 
f he pice d hpeec 
ealb lanb-pseben py. 
1 hpsc 6eobe t$eap *. 

GEBUai 00N8U£- 

consuetudo stat, moris 
est ut ad terram aasi- 
dendam denttir en 11. 
bovea et i. vacca, et 
Yi. ovesy et Yii. acre 
seminate, in sua vir- 
gata terra. Post il- 
ium annum faciat 
omnes rectitudines 
que ad eum attinent ; 
et committantur ei 
tela ad opus suum et 
suppellex ad domum 
suam. Si mortem 
obeat» rehabeat do- 
minus SUU8 omnia. 

HflBC consuetudo 
stat in quibusdam 
lociSy et alicubi est, 
sicut prediximus, gra- 
vior, et alicubi levicHr ; 
quia omnium terra- 
rum instituta non 
sunt equalia. In qui- 
busdam lods gebur 
dabit hunigablum, in 
quibusdam met^;a- 
blum, in quibusdam 
ealagablum. Videat 
qui scyram tenet, ut 
semper sdat que sit 
antiqna terrarum in- 
stitutio, vel populi 



Chap. V. 


holds it pertairu to 
the gebur thai he 
ehaU have given to 
him /or hia outfit ii. Outfit of 
oxen cmd i. 0010 and ^^o oxen 
vL eheep, and viL ^^' 
acres sown on his 
yard-land. \ Where- 
fore after that year 
he must perform aU 
services which per- 
tain to him. And 
he must have given 
to him tools for his 
work, and utensils 
Jor his house. Then 
when he dies his lord 
takes 6ae^ whcU he 

This land-law 
holds onsome lands, 
but here and there, 
as I have said, it is 
aU land services are 
not alike. On some 
land the gebur shall 
pay honey-gafol, on 
some meat-gafol, on 
some ale-gafoL Let 
him who is over the 
district take care 
that he knows what 
the old land-customs 
are, and what are 
the customs of the 

Then follow the special services of the beekeeper, 
oxherd, cowherd, shepherd, goatherd, &c., upon which 
we need not dwell here ; and the document concludes 
with another declaration that the services vary ac- 
cording to the custom of each district. 

Chap. V. 


134 The English Village Community. 

This important document is therefore a general 
description of the services due from the thane to the 
king, and from the classes in villenage to their mano- 
rial lord. And it might be the very model from 

with the ^^^^ ^^ iovm of the Domesday Survey was taken. 

Domesday Both, in fact, first speak of the lord of the manor, and 


then of the villein tenants ; the latter being in both 
cases divided into the two main classes of villani and 
cottiers ; for, as already stated, the Saxon thane 
answered to the Norman ford, the Saxon gebur 
answered to the viUanus of the Survey, and the cot- 
sede to the cottier or bordarius of the Survey. But 
these various classes require separate consideration 




The * Rectitudines ' begins with the thane or lord 
of the manor; and informs us that he owed his 
military and other services (for his manor) to the 
king — always including the three great needs — the 
trinoda necessita^ ; viz. (1) to accompany the king in 
his military expeditions, or fyrd ; (2) to aid in the 
building of his castles, or burhbote ; (3) to maintain the 
bridges, or brigbote. 

The lord's demesne land was called the * thane's 
inland.' So, too, in a law of King Edgar's al- 
ready quoted, the tithes are ordered to be paid * as 
well on the thane's inland as on geneat land,' show- 
ing that this distinction between the two was ex- 

So also in Scotland, where the old Saxon words 
were not so soon displaced by Norman terms as in 

The Saxon Manor and Serfdom. 135 

England, the lord of a manor was long called the <^^^- 
tfiane of such and such a place. In the chronicler 
Wintoun's story of Macbeth, as well as in Shakespeare's 
version of it, there are the * thane of Fyfe ' and the 
* thane of Cawdor/ 

And the circumstance which, according to Win- Scotch 
toun, gave rise to Macbeth's hatred of Macduff is bnrhbote, 
itself a graphic illustration of the * burhbote,' or aid 
in castle-building due from the thane to his king : — 

And in Scotland than as kyng 

This Makbeth mad gret steryng 

And set hym than in hys powers 

A gret hows for to mak off were 

Upon the hjcht off Dwnsynane. 

Tymbyr thare-till to draw and stans 

Off Fyfe and off Angws he 

Gert mony ozin gadryd he. 

Sa on a day in thare traivaile 

A yhok off oxyn Makbeth saw fayle. 

Than speryt Makbeth quha that awcht 

The yhoke that fayled in that drawoht. 

Thai awnsweryd till Makbeth agayne, 

And sayd, ' Makduff off Fyffe the Thane 

That ilk yhoke off oxyn awcht 

That he saw fayle in to the drawcht.* 

Than spak Makbeth dyspjtusly, 

And to the Thane sayd angryly, 

Lyk all wythyn in hys skin, 

Hys awyn nek he suld put in 

The yhoke and gey hym drawchtis draws.' 

But the military service was by far the most im- The thane 

"^ "^ asatolaier* 

portant of ' the three needs ' or services due from the 
thane to the king. The thane was a soldier first 
of all things. The very word thane implies this. 
In translating the story of the centurion who had 
soldiers under him, the Saxon Gospel makes the 

^ The CronykU of Scotland, B. VI. c. xviii. 

136 The English Village Community. 

Chap^ * Hundredes ealdor ' say, * / have thanes under me * 
(ic haebbe J>egnas under me).^ And though the text 
of the translation may not be earlier than the tenth 
century, yet, as the meaning of words does not change 
suddenly, it shows that the military service of the 
thane dated from a still earlier period. 

And just as in Norman times the barons and their 
Norman followers {Francigenas eorum) were marked 
off from the population in villenage as companions or 
associates of the king or some great earl, or as they 
might now be called 'county men,' so the Saxon 
thanes 400 years before the Norman Conquest were 

* Gesithcundmen,' in respect of their obligation to 

* do fyrd-faereld,' i.e. to accompany the king in his 
royal expeditions. But this association with the 
king did not break the bond of service. By the laws 
of King Ine * the gesithcundmen were fined and for- 
feited their land if they neglected their ' fyrd : ' — 

LI. Dif ^ep^cunb mon lanb- 
ajenbe poppcce p^be ^^fe^e 
.c.tx. fciU. "} |K)]ie hif lanbef . 

51. If a gesithcund man owniog 
land neglect the fyrd, let him pay 
cxx. shillings and forfeit his land. 

A«a But the * gesithcund' thanes were landlords as 

well as soldiers. And King Ine found it needful 
to enact laws to secure that they performed their 
landlord's duties. They must not absent themselves 
from their manors without provision for the cultiva- 
tion of the land. When he fcereSj i.e. goes on long 
expeditions, a gesithcundman may take with him on 
his journey his reeve, his smith to forge his weapons, 
and his child's fosterer, or nurse.* But if he have xx. 
hides of land, he must show xii. hides at least of 

* Matt. viiL 9. * Ines Danuu, s. 61. Thorpe, p. 58. 

* Id. a. 68. Thorpe, p. 62. 

The Saxon Manor and Serfdom. 137 

gesettes land on his manor ; if he have x. hides, ^- q y 

hides of gesettes land ; and if he have iii. hides, one and 

a half hides of gesettes land before he absents himself 
from his manor.^ 

That ' geset land ' was a general and rather loose Hie 
term meaning the same thing as ' geneat land ' is ^'or 
clear from a charter of a.d. 950, which will be re- ^^ ^*"^ 
ferred to hereafter, wherein a manor is described as 
containing xxx. hides, ix. of inland and xxi. of ^ gesettes 
land/ and the latter is said to contain so many yard- 
lands (* gyrda gafoUandes '). This instance also helps 
us to understand how gafol land^ and gesettes land, 
and geneat land were all interchangeable terms — all, 
in fact, meaning ' land in villenage,' to the tenants on 
which we must now turn our attention. 


It has been shown that the Saxon thane's estate oemeat 
or manor was divided into thane's inland or demesne }^ JJ^ 
land, and geneat land or gesettes land^ answering to the ^ii««»«^ 
land in villenage of the Domesday Survey. Let us 
now examine into the nature of the villenage on the 
geneat land under Saxon rule. 

'Gesettes land' etymologically seems to mean 
simply land set or let out to tenants. In the parable 
of the vineyard, the Saxon translation makes the 
wingeardes hlaford* gesette' it out to husbandmen 
(gesette J>one myd eor^tylion) before he takes his 
journey into a far country, and the husbandmen are 
to pay him as tribute a portion of the annual fruits. 

* Id. 8. 6d-6. Thorpe, pp. 62-3. * Matt. xxi. 33. 

138 The English Village Community. 

Chap. V. 




stuhtt or 
outfit of 

Two oxen 
to yard- 

In early times, when population was scanty, there 
was a lack of husbandmen. 

King Alfred, in his Saxon translation of Boethius, 
into which he often puts observations of his own, ex- 
presses in one of the most often quoted of these inter- 
polations what doubtless his own experience had 
shown him, viz., that ' a king must have his tools to 

* reign with — his realm must be well peopled — full 

* manned.* Unless there are priests, soldiers, and 
workmen — * gebedmen^ fyrdmenj and weorcmen ' — ^na 
king, he says, can show his craft.^ 

We are to take it, then, that population was still 
scanty, that a thane's manor was not always as well 
stocked with husbandmen as the necessities of agri- 
culture required. The nation must be fed as well as 
defended, and both these economic needs were im- 
perative. How, then, was a thane to plant new settlers 
on his ' gesettes-land ' ? 

We have seen the Kelso monks furnishing their 
tenants with their outfit or ^stuhV — the two oxen 
needful to till the husbandland of two bovates ; also 
a horse, and enough of oats, barley, and wheat for 
seed. The ^ Rectitudinea' shows that in the tenth 
century this custom had long been followed by Saxon 
landlords. It further shows that the new tenants so 
created were settled on yard-lands^ and called geburs. 

It states that in some places it is the custom that 
in settling the gebur on the land, there shall be given 
to him * to land setene ' {i.e. as * stuht ' or outfit) two 
oxen, one cow, six sheep, and seven acres sown on 
his yard-land or virgate. Then after the first year 

^ Boethius, c xviL 

ne Sajton Manor and Serntom. 


he performs the nsaal services. Having been supplied ^^***^ 
by his lord, not only with his stuht, but also even 
with tools for his work and utensils for his house^ it 
is not surprising that on his death everything reverted 
to his lord. 

The gebur here answers exactly to the villanus of 
post-Domesday times.^ ffis normal holding is the 
yard-land or virgate. His stuht^ which goes with the 
yard-land * to setene,' or for outfit, is two oxen, one 
cow, &c.; i.e. one ox for each of the two bovates 
which made up the yard-land. 

That this was the usual outfit of the yard-land, 
and that the yard-land at the same time was the one- 
fourth part of the stdung or full plough-land, in still 
earlier times than the date of the * RectitudineSy re- 
ceives clear confirmation from an Anglo-Saxon will 
dated a.d. 835, in which there is a gift of * an half 
svmlung,' and * to Sem londe iiii oxan & ii cy & 1 
scepa,' &c.* The half-sulung being the double of the 
yard-land, it is natural that the allowance for outfit in 

1 In the Codex DiplomaticuBf 
Na MCCCLIV., there ib an in- 
teresting document early in the 
eleventh century, the original of 
which 18 in the British Museum 
(MS. Cott, Tib, B. v. f. 76 6), 
written on the back of a much 
older copy of the Gospels, and con- 
taining particulars respecting the 
gtiun on the Hatfield estate in 
Hertfordshire — their pedigree$y in 
fiict — showing that they had inter- 
married with others of the follow- 
ing manors in Hertfordshire, tIz. : 
— T€Kcingawyrde (Datch worth), 
Wetdaden (King's or Paul's Wal- 
den), J^e/i^n 0\'elwyn), Wad- 

tune (Watton), Munddene (Man- 
don), WUtnundeiUrt (NVymondley), 
and EsUngadene (Essenden). The 
fact that it was worth while to 
preserve a record of the pedigree 
of the ffebur$ shows that they were 
adscr^i glebtB. And there can be 
no doubt of the identity of the 
gihur9 of this docomaot with the 
vUlani of the Domesday Survey of 
these various places. The pedigrees 
of viUani or nativi were carefully 
kept in some manors even after the 
Black Death, 

' Cotton MS. Augudutf ii. f$4. 
Fae-similes of Ancient Charters io 
the British Museum, Part II. 

140 The English Village Community. 

Chap. V. \}^q bequest of oxen and cows should be just double 
the outfit assigned by custom to the yard-land. It 
is obvious that the allotment to the whole sulung 
would be a full team of eight oxen. 
Swricea The gebui, then, having been * set ' upon his yard 

land by his lord, and supplied with his aetene or ^ stuht, 
had to perform his services. 

What were these services ? 

An examination of them as stated in the * Recti- 
tudines ' will show at once their close resemblance to 
those of the holders of virgates in villenage in post- 
Domesday times. 

They may be classified in the same way as these 
were classified. 
GaioL Some of them are called gafol; i.e. they were 

tributes in money and in kind, and in work at plough- 
ing, &c., in the nature rather of rent, rates, and taxes 
than anything else. They were as follows : 

At Michaebnas x. gafol-penoe. 
At Martinmtut xxiii. sestera of barley and ii. hens.^ 
At Easter a young sheep, or iLd, 
Gofo^ Of gafol-ploughing (gafol-jriS) to pbugh three acres, and sow it from 

y^^ his bam. 

The hearth-penny. 

With another gebur to feed a hound. 

Six loaves to the swineherd of the manor, when he takes the flock to 

In some places the gebur gives htmey^afdl, in some meU-^afiA^ and in 

some al&^afol. 

Bme-wotk, Next there were the precarice or hem-work, extra 
special services : 

To plough three acres 'to bene' {adprecem), and two to 'gsdrsyr^." 

1 This may be read 2Sd, and a 
sester of barley ; or, perhaps, 20d. 

the best reading seems to be that 
in the text. 

and three sestras of barley. But ' This is a word often used ia 

The Saxon Manor and Serfdom. 141 

Lastly, the chief services were the regular week Ch^^- 
work (wic-weorc), generally limited to certain days a Week- 
week according to the season. 

' He Bhall work for week-work two days at such work as he is hid 
' throughout the year, each week ; and Id August three days* week- 
' work, and firom Oandlemas to Easter three days.' 

These were the services of the qebur or villanua. thirty 

, *' acres m 

and we may gather that his yard-land embraced the yard-Und ; 
usual thirty acres or strips, i.e. ten strips in each of field, 
the three common fields of his village. This seems to 
follow from the fact that his outfit included seven 
acres sown! These seven acres were no doubt on the 
wheat-field which had to be sown before winter. It 
was seven acres, and not ten, because the crop on 
the other three counted as * gafolyr® ' to his lord, 
and this was not due the first season. The oats or 
beans on the second or spring-sown field he could 
sow for himself. The third field was in fallow. The 
only start he required was therefore the seven acres 
of wheat which must be sown before winter. 

So much for the gehur ; now as to the cottier. 

The cottier tenant, in respect of his five acres Cottier's 
(more or less), rendered similar services on an humbler fiye^aaes! 
scale. His week- work was on Mondays each week *°^^i 
throughout the year, three days a week at harvest. 
He was free from land-gafol, but paid hearth-penny 
and church-scot at Martinmas. The nature of his 
work was the ordinary service of the geneat as re- 


later documents, and seems to mean 
a certain amount of ploughing done 
as an equivalent for an allowance 
of graAs. OroBB-yrth may he the | 

gafol tot the share in the Lamma» 
meadowa, and the gnfol-yrth for the 
arahle in the yarcUand. 

142 The English Village Community. 

^"^- ^ ' quired by his lord from time to time ; only, having no 
oxen, he was exempt from ploughing, as he was also 
after the Norman Conquest. 

Laws of 



Ga/ol and 


Eeturning to the services of the gebur, stress must 
be laid upon their double character. like the 
later villanus he paid a double debt to his lord in 
respect of his yard-land and outfit, or * setene ' — (1) 
ga/ol; (2) week-work. 

This is a point of great importance at this stage 
of the inquiry ; for it gives us the key to the mean- 
ing of an otherwise almost unintelligible passage in 
the laws of King Ine, which bears directly upon the 
matter in hand. 

This passage immediately follows those already 
quoted, requiring one-half or more of the land of the 
absentee landlord to be ^ gesettes land.' 

It follows in natural order after this requirement, 
because it evidently relates to the process of in- 
creasing the number of tenants on the gesettes land, 
so introducing new geburs or villani, with new yard- 
lands or virgates, into the village community. The 
clause is as follows : 


Ifip mon 2^|>in2at$ zSl^^ 
landef oppe msepe co paebe-^a- 
pole. -] 2^epet$. ^'F P hlapopb 
him pile f lanb apsepan co 
peopce 3 CO japole. ne ])eapF he 
him onF6n pp he him nan boci 
ne pels. • • • 


If a man agree for a yard- 
land or more at a fixed ga/ol and 
plough ity if the lord desire to 
raise the land to him to work 
and to ga/ol, he need not take it 
upon him, if the lord do not give 
him a dwelling. 

• • 

* IiatM o/ Ine, 8. 67. Thorpe, p. 03. 

The Saxon Manor and Serfdom. 143 

The meaning of it apparently is that if a man Chap^. 
agree for a yard-land or more to * rsed-gafol ' {i.e. 
at such gafol payments as have been described), and 
plough it, still the lord cannot put the new holding 
* to weorce and to gafoU^ that is, make the holder 
completely into a gehur or villanus, owing both gafol 
and week-work to his lord, unless the lord also supply 
the homestead (* botl '). 

That the ^ botl ' or homestead was looked upon as 
the essential part of a man's holding is shown by 
another law of King Ine : — 

LXVIII. Ijif mon jeptScunbne 
monnan abpipe. popbpipe Yj 
bocle. naef )»aepe f etene > 

68. If a gesithcond man be driven 
off, it must be from tbe hoil^ not 
the M^ene. 

Now the importance of these passages can hardly The. manor 
be exaggerated ; for, if we may trust the genuineness SSmln''" 
of the laws of King Ine,^ they show more clearly than ■«^«nt*» 
anything else could do, that in the seventh century 
— 400 years before the Domesday Survey — the manor 
was already to all intents and purposes what it was 
afterwards. They show that at that early date part 
of the land was in the lord's demesne and part let 
out to tenants, who when supplied by the lord with 
everything — their homestead and their yard-land — 
owed, not only customary tribute or gafol^ but also 
* weorc ' or service to the lord ; and how otherwise 
could this * weorce ' be given then or afterwards 

^ The opening clause of Ine*8 
laws, as republished by King 
Alfred with his own, states that 
they were recorded under the 

counsel and teaching of his father 
Cenred, who resigned his kingship 
to Ine in A..D. 68S. 

144 The English Village Community. 

Chap. V. except in the shape of labour on the lord's demesne, 
as is described in the * Bectitudines ' ? 

It is worth while to notice that while the double 
debt of both gafol and week-work was due from the 
gebur or villanus proper, and the week-work was the 
most servile service, yet even the mere payment of 
gafol was the sign of a submission to an overlordship. 
It had a servile taint about it, as well it might, being 
paid apparently part in kind and part in work. As 
the class of free hired labourers had not yet been born 
into existence under these early Saxon economic con- 
ditions, in times when the theows were the servants, 
so the modem class of farmers or free tenants at a 
rent of another's land had not yet come into being. 
It was the * ceorl ' who lived on * gafol land,' ^ and to 
pay gafol was to do service, though of a limited kind. 

The Saxon translators of the Gospels rendered 
the question, * Doth your master pay tribute ? ' * by 
the words * gylt he gafol ? ' And they used the same 
word gafol also in translating the counter question, 
* Of whom do kings take tribute, of their own people 
or of aliens ? ' 

So when Bede described the northern conquest of 
Ethelfred, king of the Northumbrians, over the Britons 
in A.D. 603, and spoke of the inhabitants as being 
either exterminated or subjugated, and their lands as 
either cleared for new settlers or made tributary to 
the English, King Alfred in his translation expressed 

Gafol A 




* Alfred and GvthrunCt Peace., 
Thorpe, p. 66. < We hold all equally 
dear, English and Danish, at riii. 
half marks of pure gold, except the 
'^ceorle |>e on gafoNande nt, and 

heora liesingum** {ly9ingon)\ they 
also are equally dear at cc. shillings/ 
%,e. they are ' twihinde menJ 
' Matt. xvii. 25. 

The Saxon Manor and Serfdom. 145 

the latter alternative by the words * set to gafol ' — to Q»^^ - 
gafvlgyldum geaette} 

No doubt the Teutonic notion of a subjugated 
people was that of a people reduced to serfdom or 
villenage. They — ^the conquerors— were the nation^ 
the freemen. The conquered race were the aliens, 
subjected to gafol and servitude. 

Thus, recurring to the Saxon translation of the P^bi« 
parable of ' the unjust steward/ one may recognise aigutt 
how perfectly naturally everything seemed to the ^^^' 
translators to transfer itself to a Saxon thane's estate, 
and to translate itself into Saxon terms.' 

The * hlaford ' of the * fun ' or manor had his * (tin- 
^gerefa ' or reeve, just as the Saxon thane had. The 
land in viUenage was occupied not by mere trade 
debtors of the lord, as our version has it, but by 
* gafol-gyldan ' — tenants to whom land and goods of 
the lord had been entrusted, as Saxon tenants were 
entrusted with their * setene,' and who, therefore, paid 
gafol or tribute in kind. The natural gafol of the 
tenant of an olive-garden would be so many * sesters ' 
of oil. The tenant of corn land would pay for gafol^ 
like the English tenant of a yard-land inter alia so 

* Beda, L c. 84 : — 

Nemo enim in tri- 
buDis, nemo in regibus 
plures eorum terras, 
exterminatis vel sub- 
jagatiB indigenlB, aut 
tributarias genti Ang- 
lorum, ant habitabiles 

* Luke xn. 

Ne pser sppe 
feni2 cjmnj ne eal- 
bopman f maheopa 
lanba uce amaepbe 3 
him CO ^epealbe un- 
bepl^eobbe pop)K)n He 
he hi tojaFulsJ^lbum 
^efecce on Anjel 
6eobbe. oppe of 
heopa lanbe abpap. 

Never was there 
ever anjr king nor 
ealdorman that more 
their lands extermi- 
nated; and to his 
power subjected, for 
that he them to gafol 
set to the English 
people, or else off their 
land drove. 

146 The English Village Community. 

Omab. V, many * mittan * of wheat ; and it was the duty of the 
unrighteous * tun-gerefa,' or reeve of the manor, to 
collect the gafol from these tenants, as it was the 
duty of the Saxon thane's reeve to gather the dues 
from his servile tenants. 

How many otherwise free tenants hired yard*lands 
without becoming gehurs^ and rendering the full week- 
work as well as gafol^ we do not know. Except in the 
Danish district they seem to have left, as we have 
seen, no trace behind them on most manors in the 
Domesday Survey. The fact already mentioned, that 
the yard-lands of gehure^ who owed both gafol and 
services, were sometimes called ^ gyrda gafoUandes^ 
shows how completely the gafol and the services had 
become united as coincidents of a common villein 
tenure. All villein tenants were apparently ' geneats ' 
and paid ^ gafol,' and there is a passage in the laws of 
King Edgar which states that if a geneat-man after 
notice should persist in n^lecting to pay his lord's 
gafol, he must expect that his lord in his anger will 
spare neither his goods Tior his life} 
OoBipiete. On the whole, leaving out of notice doubtful 
eTidenoe ^ and exceptional tenants, as well we may, we are now 
^^^ in a position to state generally what were the main 
««*wy- classes of villein tenants in early Saxon times, and 
what were their holdings on the land in villenage, 
whether it were known as geneat, or geset, or gafol 

First, the * Bectitudines,' of the tenth century, de- 
scribes, as we have seen, these tenants as all geneats 
or villeins, and records their services in general terms. 

* Bn^pphmaU to Edgar*9 Low$, i. Tboipe, p. 115. 

The Saxon Manor and Serfdom. 147 

It then divides them into classes, just as the Domes- <^»|V. 
day Survey does. And the two chief classes of the 
geneats are the geburs and the cottiers. These two 
classes are evidently the viUani and the hordarii or 
cottiers of the Domesday Survey. 

Secondly y the same document describes the hold- 
ings of these two classes. It speaks of the cottiers 
as holding mostly five acres each — sometimes more 
and sometimes less — ^in singular coincidence with 
the Domesday Survey and later evidence. And it 
describes the gebur^ as we have seen, as holding a 
yardrland or virgate, the typical holding of the 
Domesday villanus, and as having allotted to him as 
< outfit ' two oxen, just as was the case with the Eelso 

Thirdly^ the laws of King Ine bring back the evi- 
<ience to the seventh century by their incidental 
mention of the yard-land as a typical holding on 
geset'land; and also of half-hides^ and hideSy as well 
as of geneats^ and geburs^ with their gafol and 

When this concurrence of the evidence of the 
tenth and the seventh century is duly considered, 
it will be seen how complete is the proof that in the 
seventh century the West Saxon estate, though called 
a ' tun ' or a * Aam,' was in reahty a manor in the 
Norman sense of the term — an estate with a village 
community in villenage upon it under a lord's juris- 

* Thorpe, p. 58, where they are 
mentioned as sometimes held by 
<eTen WUiscmen,^ m, tenants not of 

Saxon Uood. 
* Thorpe, p. 60. 
» /ML p. 46. 

L 2 

Chap. V. 

AftDOr of 


since ▲.!>. 


148 The English Village Community. 


The evidence hitherto given on the nature of the 
serfdom on Anglo-Saxon manors has been of a general 

We are fortunately able to confirm and illustrate 
it by reference to actual local instances. 

The first example is that of the manor of Tiden- 
hamy and it derives a more than ordinary value from 
its pecuUar geographical position. 

The parish of Tidenliam comprises the wedge- 
shaped corner of Gloucestershire, shut in between the 
Wye and the Severn, where they join and widen into 
the Bristol Channel ; while to the north-east, on its 
land side, it was surrounded by the Forest of Dean. 

In the belief of local antiquaries, the Boman road 
from Gloucester to Caerleon-upon- Usk — the key to 
South Wales — passed through it as well as the west- 
ern continuation of the old British road of Akeman 
Street from the landing-place of the Severn, opposite 
Aust (where St. Augustine is said to have met the 
Welsh Christians) to the further crossing-place on the 
Wye. Lastly, upon it was the southern end of Offa's 
Dyke^ the mysterious rampart which, commencing 
thus at the mouth of the Wye, extended to the mouth 
of the Dee.^ 

The manor probably has been in English hands 
ever since about the time when, according to the 
Saxon Chronicle, after Deorham battle in a.d. 577, 
Bath, Gloucester, and Cirencester were wrested from 

* For the archaeology of Tiden- 
ham see ProceedingB of the Codes- 
wdd NaturalistB' Field Club, 1874-6, 
and Mr. Ormerod's Archaologicdl 

Metnoirs relating to the district 
adjacent to the confluence of the 
Severn and the Wye. London, 
1861 (not published). 



Manor of King Edvoy. 149 

the Welsh by Ceawlin, king of the West Saxons. c^*^« 
According to the Welsh legends of the Liber Lan- 
daxjensis ^ this was about the time when the diocese 
of Llandaff was curtailed by the Wye instead of the 
Severn becoming the boundary between the two king- 
doms. It may therefore have been for nearly five 
centuries before the Norman Conquest the extreme 
corner of West Saxon England on the side of South 

Conquered probably by Ceawlin, or soon aftei" ^^^ 
the yeai' 577, the manor of Tidenham seems to have manor, 
remained folkland or terra regis of the West Saxon 
kings, till Offa conquered it from them and gave hia 
name to the dyke upon it. One of its hamlets bore, 
as Ave shall find, the name of Cinges tune, and Tiden- 
ham Chase remained a royal chase till after the 
Norman Conquest. 

The manor itself was granted by King Edwy in ^^^^ 
A.D. 956 by charter^ to the Abbot of Bath, under a.d. 966,to 

thii AliViAw 

whose name it is registered in the Domesday Survey, of B«th. 
It is in this charter of King Edwy that the descrip- 
tion of the manor and of the services of the tenants 
is contained. The services must be regarded, there- 
fore, as those of a royal manor before it was handed 
over to ecclesiastical hands. 

The boundaries as appended to the charter are 2riJJ**J5ii 
given below,* and may still, with slight exceptions, be Jj^^ 
traced on the Ordnance Survey. 

» Pp. 374-6. 

« Kemble'8 Cod. Dip, CCCCLII. 
(vol. ii. p. 327). 

' Codex Dip, iii. p. 444 ; App. 
CCCCLII. ' Dis synd «a landge- 
macra i6 DyddeDh&me. Of Weege* 
muJSan to iwes h^afdan; of iwes 

h^afden on SUnrsBwe; of St&iH 
rsBwe on hwltan heal; of hwltan 
heale on iwdene; of iwdene on 
br&dai xn^r; of br6dan mdr on 
Twyfyrd ; of Twyfyid on astegepul 
ut innan Saefern.' 

Manor of King Edwy. 149 

the Welsh by Ceawlin, king of the West Saxons. Chip^. 
According to the Welsh legends of the Liber Lan- 
davensis ^ this was about the time when the diocese 
of Llandaff was curtailed by the Wye instead of the 
Severn becoming the boundary between the two king- 
doms. It may therefore have been for nearly five 
centuries before the Norman Conquest the extreme 
corner of West Saxon England on the side of South 

Conquered probably by Ceawlin, or soon aftei" ^" » 
the year 577, the manor of Tidenham seems to have manor, 
remained folkland or terra regis of the West Saxon 
kings, till Offa conquered it from them and gave hia 
name to the dyke upon it. One of its hamlets bore, 
as we shall find, the name of Cinges tune, and Tiden- 
ham Chase remained a royal chase till after the 
Norman Conquest. 

Tlie manor itself was granted by King Edwy in £^„"^ 
A.D. 956 by charter^ to the Abbot of Bath, under a.d. 966,to 

thA AhViAw 

whose name it is registered in the Domesday Survey, of B«th. 
It is in this charter of King Edivy that the descrip- 
tion of the manor and of the services of the tenants 
is contained. The services must be regarded, there- 
fore, as those of a royal manor before it was handed 
over to ecclesiastical hands. 

The boundaries as appended to the charter are J^JJ^JSii 
given below,* and may stiU, with slight exceptions, be Jj^^ 
traced on the Ordnance Survey. 

» Pp. 374-6. 

« Kemble'8 Cod. Dip. CCCCLII. 
(vol. ii. p. 327). 

' Codex Dip, iii. p. 444 ; App. 
CCCCLII. ' Dis synd «a landge- 
mscra i6 Dyddenh&me. Of Weege* 
miifian to iwes hdafdan; of iwes 

h^den on SUnrsBwe; of SUiH 
rsBwe on bwltan heal; of hwltan 
heale on iwdene; of iwdene on 
br&dai m6r; of briidan mdr on 
Twyiyrd ; of Twyfyrd on aategepul 
nt innan Sefern.' 

150 The English Village Community. 

^^^^' The northern limit on the Severn is described 

as Aatege pulj now, after a thousand years, known as 
AahweU Grange Pilly the puis of 1,000 years ago and 
the present pills being the little streams which wear 
away a sort of miniature tidal estuary in the mud- 
banks as they empty themselves into the Severn and 
the Wye. Numbers of pills are marked in the Ord- 
nance map, and as many ' puis ' are mentioned in the 
boundaries of Saxon charters and those inserted in 
the Liber Landavensis. 

After the boundaries, under the heading ' Divi- 
• stones et consuetudines in Dyddanhammey ^ the docu- 
ment proceeds to state that ^ at Dyddanhamme are 
Bikmdmad * XXX. hidcs, ix. of inland and xxi. of gesettes land.' 
Jmd.** The manor was therefore in the tenth century divided 
into demesne land and land in villenage. 

Next are stated separately the contents of each 
hamlet on the manor, as follows : — 

Yard- At Str€Bt are xiL hides — ^xxvii. gyrda gafoUandes, and on the Severn 

Und«. XXX. cytweras. 

At MiddeUun are ▼. hides — ^xiiii. gyrda gafoUandes, xiiii. eytweraa 
on the Severn, and ii. hsBCweras on the Wye. 
MetO" and At the Cmges tune are ▼. hides— xiii. gyrda gafoUandes, and i. hida 

tjft* wtixs. ahoTe the dyke, which is now also gafolland ; and that outside the 

hamme ia still part inland and part gesett to gafol to ' scipwealan/ 
At the Oinges tune on the Severn are xxi. cjrtweras, and on the- 
Wye xiL 
At the Bi$hap*% tune are iii. hides, and xy. cytweras on the Wye. 
At Landcawet are iii. hides and ii. hscweraa on the Wye, and ix. 

Thus this manor, like the Winslow manor, had 
hamlets or small dependencies upon it, and these are 

* Cod, Dip, iii. p. 450, where they are evidently misplaced. 

Manor of King Edwy. 151 

still traceable on the map. Street is still Stroat on the <^«^^- 
old Boman street — the Via Julia (?)— from Glou- tii» bam- 
cester to Caerleon. The Cinges tune^ now Sudbury^ lay 
on the high wedge-shaped southern promontoiy above 
the cliffs, between the Wye and Severn where they 
join ; and it lies as it did then, part on one side and 
part on the other side of Offa's Dyke, as if the dyke 
had been cut through its open fields. Its fisheries were 
naturally some on the Severn and some on the Wye. 
The ' Bishop's tine ' is still traceable in BishUm farm. 
Lastly, Llancautj the only hamlet on this Saxon manor 
900 years ago with a Welsh name, bears its old name 
still. This hamlet is surrounded almost entirely by 
a bend of the Wye, and its situation backed by its 
woods {coit^wood) may well have protected it from 
destruction at the time of the Saxon conquest. 

Next, it is clear that the geset land in the open 
fields round each * tiine * or hamlet, except at Llan- 
caut and Bishop's tune^ was divided, as usual, into 
yard*lands — gyrda gafoUandes. These yard-lands and 
the open fields have long since been swept away by 
the enclosure of the parish. 

Besides the yard-lands there were belonging to TiwfUhing 
each hamlet the numerous fisheries — cytweras and 
hcBcweras — some on the Severn and some on the Wye. 
What were these * cyt ' and * hoec ' weirs ? 

They certainly were not the ancient dams or 
banks across the river which are now called * weirs,* 
over which the tidal wave sweeps, thus— 

* Hushing half the babbling Wye.' 

It is impossible that there can have been so many 
of these as there were cytweras and hascweras 900 

152 The English Village Community. 

^^^« years ago — as many as thirty together at Street, 
fourteen at Middletune, and twenty-one at Cingestune. 
The fact is that the old Saxon word wera meant any 
structure for entrapping fish or aiding their capture. 
And no doubt arrangements which would not be 
called * weirs ' now were so called then. The words 
cyt and hcec weras seem to point rather to wattled 
basket and hedge weirs than to the solid structures 
now called weirs. 

But the best illustration of what they were may 
be derived from the arrangements now at work for 
catching salmon in the Wye and Severn. 

CjtworEs. The stranger who visits this locahty will find here 
and there across the muddy shore of the Severn struc- 
tures which at a distance look like breakwaters ; but 
on nearer inspection he will find them to be built up 
of rows two or three deep of long tapering baskets 
arranged between upright stakes at regular distances. 
These baskets are called putts or butts or kypes, and 
are made of long rods wattled together by smaller 
ones, with a wide mouth, and gradually 4;apering 
almost to a point at the smaller or butt end. These 
putts are placed in groups of six or nine between 
each pair of stakes, with their mouths set against the 
outrunning stream; and each group of them be- 
tween its two stakes is called a * puttcher.' The 
word * puttcher ' can hardly be other than a rapidly 
pronounced putts weir, i.e. a weir made of putts. If 
the baskets had been called * cyts ' instead of * putts,' 
the group would be a cytweir. So, e.g., the thirty 
cyticeras at Street would represent a breakwater such 
as may be seen there now, consisting of as many putt- 
chers. This use of what may be called basket weirs 

Manor of King Edwy. 153 

Chap. V. 

IS peculiar to the Wye and the Severn, and has been Hecwerw 
adopted to meet the difficulty presented by the un- 
usual volume and rapidity of the tidal current. 

Then as to the hcecweras there is nothing unusual 
in the use of barriers or fences of wattle, or, as it is 
still called, hackle^ to produce an eddy, or to entrap 
the fish. Thus a statute (1 Geo. I. c. 18, s. 14) 
relating to the fisheries on tlie Severn and the Wye 
uses the following words : * If any person shall make, 

* erect, or set any bank, dam, hedge j stank, or net 

* across the same,' &c. 

These wattled hedges or hackle -weirs are some- 
times used to guide the fish into the puttchers, but 
generally in the same way as more permahent struc- 
tures on the Wye, now called cribsj to make an eddy 
in which the fish are caught from a boat in what is 
called a stop-net 

This mode of fishing is also peculiar to the Wye Salmon 
and Severn. The boat is fixed by two long stakes 
sideways across the eddy, and a wide net, like a bag 
with its open end stretched between two poles, is let 
down so as to offer a wide open mouth to the stream 
wliich carries the closed end of the bag-net under the 
boat. When a salmon strikes the net the open end is 
raised out of the water, and the fish is taken out 
behind. This clumsy process of catching salmon is 
the ancient traditional method used in the Wye and 
Severn fisheries, and so tenaciously is it adhered to 
that the fishermen can hardly be induced to substi- 
tute more efficieni modern improvements. 

So much for the cyticeras and the hcecweras. 

Tlie fisheries are now almost exclusively devoted 
to salmon. About the date of the Norman Conquest 

154 The English Village Community. 

Ceap. V. 

the manor of Tidenham was let on lease by the Bbhop 
of Bath to Stigand, Archbishop of Canterbury/ and 
as a portion of the rent reserved was 6 porpoises 
(merswin) and 30,000 herrings, it would seem at first 
sight that the main fisheries there were for herrings 
rather than salmon, but it is more probable that the 
lease was a mutual arrangement whereby the arch- 
bishop's table was provided with salmon fi:om the 
west, and the monks of Bath with herrings from the 

Turning from the fisheries to the services, they are 
described as follows :* — 

Otoeral Of Dyddanhamme gebyre^ 

•erricesof micel weorcrtSden. 

^*"*"^ Se geneit sceal wyrcan awd on 

lande, swd of lande, hwe^r swd 
him man byt, and ridan andaue- 
rian, and lide UbdAU, drife drifan, 
and fela 66ra ]>inga ddn. 

To Tidenham belong many 

The geneat shall work as well 
on land as off land, whicherer he 
is bid; and ride, and carry and 
lead loads, and drive droves, and do 
other things. 

And after thus stating, to begin with, the general 
services of aU geneata^ the document proceeds, like 
the * RectitudineSj to describe the special services of 
the gebuTj or holder of a yard-land. 

Services of 


Se gebdr soeal his riht d<$n. 

He sceal erian healfne acer 
16 wlceworce, and r»can sylf tSsBt 
seed on hUfordes heme gehfilne id 
cyrcscette, s& hwetSere of hisigenum 

T6 werbolde xl. msBra oliiie 6n 
fot$er gyrda ; afSHe viii. geocu byld. 
iii. ebban tyne. JScertyninge xv. 
gyrda, oifSte dlche fiftyne; and 
dlcie L gyrde burhheges, ripe 69er 
healfoe »oer, m&we healfh4; on 
o6ran weorcan wyrce, 4 be weorces 

The gebur shall do his < riht: 
He shall plough a half-acre as 
week-work, and himself prepare 
the seed in the lord's bam rMdy for 
kirkshot, or else from his own 

For weir-building 40 large rods 
or 1 load of small rods, or build 
8 yokes and wattle 8 ebbs. Of 
acre-fencing 15 yards, or ditch 15 ; 
and ditch 1 yard of burh-hedge, 
reap 1 acre and a half, mow half 
an acre. At other work, work as 
the work requires. 

» Cod. D^, DOCC., XXIL * Cod, Dip. ill p. 450. 

Manor of King Edwy. 156 

These are the various details of his week-work. Or^^. 
Then follow the ^o/b^payments. 

Sjlle Ti. penegas ofer Mre, Pay M. after Easter, half a QtML 
heal^e aester hunies t6 Hl&f- aester of honey (or meadP) at 

mflasaaii. Tuajatresmealteat^ Mar- 
tines msBSse, an cliwen g6des nett- 
gemes. On t$am sylfum lande stent 
8e6e ▼ii.sw^ hsBbbe tot hesylle iii. 
and SW& forf$ 4 tot teoSe, and Sses 
nafSuUes msBstenrifedene tSonne there be mast. 
msBiten bed. 

Lammas. 6 sesters of malt at Mar- 
tinmasi 1 clew of good net-yam. On 
the same land, if he has 7 swine, he 
pays 3, and so forth at that rate, 
and nevertheless give mast dues if 

It will be observed that in their week-work the 
geburs of Tidenham, in addition to strictly agricul- 
tural services, had to provide the materials for the 
puttchers and hedge-weirs, as well as other requisites 
for the fisheries. 

What the eight geocu to be built may have been is 
doubtful ; but the tyning or wattling of three ebbs was 
at once explained on the spot by the lessee of the 
fisheries, who pointed out that when hackle weirs 
were used, three separate wattled hedges would always 
be needed, as, owing to the very various heights of 
the tide, the hedge must be differently placed for the 
spring tides, the middle tides, and the neap tides re- 

The * week'work ' was shown by the ^ Rectittidines* 
to be the chief service of the gebur, and this work^ 
added to the gafoU made the holder of the yard-land 
into a gebur y according to the laws of Ine. 

Two things are very striking about the week- work ?<> ^^"^^ 
on the manor of Tidenham. (1) There is no limit to week-work 
three days a week more or less, as in the ^ Recti- J^yg. 
tudines.* (2) There is a clear adaptation of the week- 

156 The English Village Community. 

Chap. V. work tolocal circumstances. In particular the fisheries 
have a prominent regard in its arrangement. As 
described in the * BecHtudineSy the work varied accord- 
ing to the customs of each place. 
So much for the * week-work/ 
Sobene- Ncxt, there were at Tidenham no ^ precarice,' or 

* bene ' works, which formed so prominent a feature 
in the later services. When the week-work was not 
limited to some days only, clearly there was no need 
or room for these additional services. 

Lastly, as to the gafol — this formed a prominent 
feature of tlie weorc-rceden of the Tidenham yard- 
Oiffid It consisted mainly of the produce of the land, like 

prodiKe" the gafol of the gafolgylders in the Saxon translation 
honey, &c. ^f ^^ie parable of * the unjust steward.' Honey and 
malt, or ale, and yam and pork — these, as we shall see 
by-and-by, were the chief products of this and the ad- 
joining districts of Wales. 

These, then, were the services of the geburs of 

Tidenham in respect of their yard-lands in a.d. 950, 

while the manor was still in royal hands just before it 

was handed over to the Abbot of Bath. 

Compari- Now let US Compare these services with the 

seiricesin scrviccs ou the samc manor 350 years afterwards, 

teenth"^ in the time of Edward I. An Inquisitio post mortem 

century, ^f ^^ 35^^}^ y^gj Qf Edward I. enables us to make 

this comparison.^ 

The following is an abstract of the services of a 
tenant who held a messuage and xviii. acres of land 
in villenage (probably a half-virgate). 

' Kecord Office, Chancery Inquintions po9t martenif Anno 35 Edw. L 
No. 46 6. Gloucestria, § Manerium de Tudenham. 

Manor of King Edwy. 157 

His week-work was — Chap. v. 

6 days in every other week for xzxv. weeks in the year from 
Michaelmas to Midsummer, except the festival weeks oi Christmas, 
Easter, and Pentecost ; 87^ works. 

2^ days every week for 6 weeks from Midsummer to Gales of August ; 
15 works. 

8 days every week for 8 weeks from Gules of August to Biichaelmas ; 
24 worln. 

And of this week-work hetween Michaelmas and Christmas, 1 day s 
work every other week was to he ploughing and harrowing a 
half-acre. Each ploughing was accounted for a day's work. 

Then as to his precarice^ — 

He made 1 precaria called 'cherched/ and he ploughed and har- 
rowed a half-acre for corn^ and sowed it with 1 bushel of corn 
fr^m his own seed ; and in the time of harvest he had to reap 
and bind and stack the produce, receiving one sheaf for himself 
on account of the half-acre, ' as much as can be bound with a binding 
of the same com, cut near the land.' 

And he had to plough 1 acre for oats, and this was accounted for 2 
days' manual work. 

And he made another precariOf ploughing a half-acre with his own 
plough for winter sowing with as many oxen as he possessed, so that 
there should be a team of 8 oxen. But ii he had no oxen he did 
not plough. 

And he made [several other precaria of various kinds]. 

Lastly came his gafol^ &c. 

He gave i. hen, which was called ' wodehen,' at Christmas. 

And 5 eggs at Easter. 

And Id, for every yearling pig, and ^. for those only of half-year, 

by way of pannage. 
He paid ... for every horse or mare sold. 
And viii. gallons of beer at every brewing. 
And he could not marry his daughter without licence. 

Now, comparing the services on the manor of 
Tidenham at these dates 300 years apart, at which 
period was the service most complete serfdom? at 
the later date, when the week-work of the villeins 
was limited to two and a half or three days a week, 
and in addition he made precarice or extra works ; or 
at the earlier date, when his week-work was unlimited 


The English Village Community. 

CnAF. T. 







-near the 



as to the days, and therefore there was no room for 
the extra work ? 

Surely the unlimited week-work marked the most 
complete serfdom. Surely the later services, limited 
in their amount and commutable into money pay- 
ments, were clearly a mitigated service fast growing 
into a fixed money rent. In fact, the gehur or viUa- 
nus was fast growing into a mere customary tenant 
in the time of Edward I. Indeed, he is not called in 
the * Inquisition ' a ' viUanus^ but a * custumariuSj and 
such he was. He was halfway on the road to free- 
dom. Another sign of the times was this, that at the 
later date, side by side with the customary tenants 
on the land in villenage, a whole host of libere 
ienentes had already grown up upon the lord's demesne, 
not, as we have more than once observed, necessarily 
liberi homines at all, but some of them villein 
tenants or ctistumarii holding additional pieces of free 
land of the lord's demesne. Of these free tenants 
there were none at the earlier period. So that the 
gehur ^ with his weorc-rceden 100 years and more 
before the Norman Conquest, was much more clearly 
a serf, and rendered far more complete and servile ser- 
vices than his successor in the thirteenth century, 
with the Black Death and Wat Tyler's rebellion in the 
near future before him. 

Finally, let us look backward and ask how long 
this more complete serfdom had lasted on the manor 
of Tidenham. 

If in the laws of King Ine are found, as we have 
seen, the ^ geset land' and ^ gyrd lands^' and the 
* g(^folj and the * weorc^' and the * geneatj and the 
^ gebuTy and the obligation not to leave the lord's 

Manor of King Edwy. 159 

land ; and if all these were incidents of what in the Chaf. v. 
* Rectitudines ' and in the charter of Xing Edwy just 
examined was in fact serfdom — if the laws of Ine are 
good evidence that this serfdom existed in full force 
in the seventh century anywhere — ^they must surely 
be good evidence that it existed on the manor of 
Tidenham. For it was, as we have seen, a royal 
manor of King Edwy, and most probably he had 
received it through a succession of royal holders from 
King Ine. There is no evidence of its having ceased 
to be folcland, and so to be in the royal demesne 
of the kings of Wessex or of Mercia, from Lie's time 
to Edwy's. And if it was a royal manor of King 
Ine's, surely the laws of King Ine may be taken to 
interpret the serfdom on his own estate. Lastly, 
looking further back still, as King Ine probably held 
the manor in direct succession from Ceawlin, or 
whoever conquered it from the Welsh, and cut it from 
the diocese of Llandaff in a.d. 577 or thereabouts, 
the inference is very strong indeed that the weorc' 
rceden had remained much the same ever since, 100 
years before the date of King Ine's laws, it first fell 
under Saxon rule. 

The lesson to be learned from a careful tracing CbangM in 
back of the customs of such a manor as Tidenham, tomsTuy 
and we might add also the methods of fishing, and •^^^* 
the construction of the * cyt ' and * hoecweras,* surely 
is, that in those early times changes in custom and 
habit were slow, and not easily made. It would be 
as unlikely that between the days of King Ceawlin 
and those of King Ine great changes should have been 
made in the internal economic structure of a Saxon 
manor, as that in the same period bees should have 
•changed the shape of their hexagonal ceUs. 

Chap. 7. 

160 Tli^ Eiujlvsh Villa(je Community. 


BiAnor of 



which had 


U\ Egbert, 




The second example of a Saxon manor is that of 

* Stoke-by-Hysseburne/ a royal estate in Hampshire.* 
It had belonged in succession to King Egbert, King 
Ethelwulf, and King Alfred, and was by his son 
Edward given over to the monks of the * old minster ' 
at Winchester under the following curious circum- 

King Alfred, towards the close of his reign, in his 
anxiety for the better education of the children of his 
nobles, called to his aid the monk Grimbald, from the 
monastery of St. Bertin, near St. Omer in Picardy, 
in which he himself had spent some time in his child- 
hood on his way to Eome. It was the plan of Grim- 
bald and King Alfred to build a new monastery (the 

* new minster ') at Winchester where Grimbald should 
carry out the royal object. But King Alfred died 
before this wish was fully accomplished. He had 
bought the land for the chapel and dormitory in 

^ Mr. Kemble identifies this 
place with Stoke near Hurstboume 
Priors, near Whitechurch; but it 
may possibly be one of the Stokes 
on the Itchin River near Win« 

That the upper part of the Itchin 
was called ' Hyssebume ' and ' Ticce- 
bume/ see Cod, Dip, MLXXVII., 
The boundaries in MLXXVII. of 
'Hyssebuma' (beginning at Twy- 
ford) correspond at a few points 
with those of ' Hissebume ' in 
Abingdon, i. p. 818, and of Eastune 
appended thereto, and of Eastune 

in Cod, Dip, MCCXXX. The 
position of Twyford and Easton 
seems to fix this locality on the 
Itchin. The parishes of Itchin Stoke 
and Titch bourne (' SBt Hissebume ') 
still nearly adjoin those of Twyford 
and Easton, but the parishes here 
are interntixed, and the 'Hysse- 
bume ' of the charters may have been 
a district with different boundaries, 
and may not be the Hyssebume of 
King Alfred^s will. Compare Domes- 
day Survey, i. 40, where Twyford, 
Eastune, and Stoches occur together 
among the ' Terrm Wintonensis 

Manor of King Alfred. 161 

the city, but the building and endowment of the Chap^. 
monastery was left for his son King Edward to 
complete. Grimbald, then eighty-two years old, 
was the first abbot, but within a year died and 
was canonised. The body of King Alfred lay en- 
shrined in Winchester Cathedral, in the * old minster ' 
of the bishop ; but the canons of the old foundation 
having, according to the Abbey Chronicle, conceived 
* delirious fancies ' that the royal ghost, roaming by 
night about their cloisters, could not rest in peace, 
the remains of Alfred and his queen were removed to 
the *new minster.'^ 

Now, King Ethelwolf, when dying, having left 
to King Alfred his son certain lands at * Cyseldene ' 
and elsewhere, with instructions when he died to 
give them over to the refectory of the old minster. 
King Alfred in his will gave his land at that place to 
the proper official at Winchester accordingly. In 
other words, the body of King Alfred lay in the * new 
minster,' and this land given for the good of his soul 
belonged to the * old minster.' So it came to pass — 
whether this time the * delirious fancies ' of the super- 
stitious canons had anything to do with it or not 
cannot be told — ^that this property at Cyseldene, like 
the royal donor's body, could not rest in the hands 
of the * old minster,' but must be transferred to the 
*new minster.' So King Edward in the year 900 
made an arrangement with the monks, whereby the 
lands at Cyseldene were transferred to the * new Granted to 
minster,' and by charter he gave instead of them to minsur' 
the *old minster' ten holdings (manentes) at Stoke- ch^r 

' See Liber de Hyda, Mr. Edwards' Introduction. 



The English Village Community. 

Chap. V. 

or fiimily 
to yard- 


be-Hissehume^ toith all the men who were thereon^ and 
those at * Hissebumey when King Alfred died. 

It is in the charter ^ effecting this object that the 
services are described. * Here are written the gerihta 
* that the ceorls shall do at Hysseburne.' From 
every * hiwisc ' such and such services. The hiwisce 
or family holding seems from the services to have 
been a yard-land of 30 acres. The services were as 
follows : — 

H^r syiid gewriten tia gerihta 
6» f$a oeorlaa sculan d6n t6 Hysse- 

iErest »t hilcan hiwisce feor- 
werti penega td herfeatea enmihte : 
and yL ciricmittan ealatS ; and iii. 
aeatSlar hliifhwdtea : and iii. a&ceras 
ge-erian on heora aogenre hwOe, 
and mid heora ^Igenan saeda geaA- 
wan, and on hyra Agenie [h]wlle on 
hserene gehringan : and )n^ pund 
gauolherea and healfhe ttoer gauol- 
mi6de on hiora ^enre hwlle, and 
t$»t on hieace gehringan : and iiii. 
fdSera iclofenaa gauolwyda td 
aeidhneoe on hiora igenre hwfle: 
and xvi. gyrda gauoltininga elc 
on hiora 6genre hwfle: and td 
E^ran tw6 ewe mid twam 1am- 
han, and we [tala^] tw6 geong 
aceap td eald soeapan : and hi scu- 
lan waxan aceap and sciran on hiora 
iigenre hwfle. 

Here are written the services 
that the ceorls shall do at Hysse* 

From each hitouc (family) 4M, 
at harrest equinoxi and 6 church- 
mittans of ale, and 3 sesters of 
hread-wheat: and plough 3 acres 
in their own time, and sow it with 
their own seed, and in their own 
time hring it to the bam: and 
3 pounds of gafol-barley, and a half- 
acre of gafol-mowing in their own 
time, and to hring it to the rick : 
and split 4 fothers (loads) of gafol- 
wood and stack it in their own 
time, and 16 yards of gafol-fencing 
in tiieir own time ; and at Easter 
two ewes with two lambs, and two 
young sheep may be taken for one 
old one : and they shall wash sheep 
and shear them in their own time. 

Gafoi and Here wc have clearly, as in the * BectitudineSj* the 

yHhe. gofol^ including the three acres of gafol-yrth or plough- 
ing, as well as other gafol-work and payments in 

1 Codex Dip, MLXXVII. ; and the Winchester Oartulary (St. 
Dugdale, Winchester Monastery, ! Swithin*s) now in the British 

Num. X. This charter is preserved 
in a copy of the twelfth century in 

MuseunL Add. MSS. 16350, f. 696. 

Manor of King Alfred. 


kind. And if the services had stopped here, we might Chap^. 
have conchided that the * ceorls ' of Hysseburne were 
gafolgelders, and not serfs. But there is another 
clause which forbids such a conclusion — ^which shows 
that, in the words of the laws of King Ine, they were 
* set to work as well as to gafoV It is this : — 

And ^Ice wucan wircen tot 
hi man h&te bdtan jTim, &n 16 
middan-wintra, otSeru t6 £&8tran, 
]nridde to Gangdagan. 

And every week do what work Week- 
they are Wd, except three weeks — ^^rk. 
one at midwinter, the second at 
Easter, and the third at < Gang 

Comparing these services with the other examples, 
they do not seem to be any more the services of fire- 
men, or any less those of serfs. They seem to plainly 
bear the ordinary characteristics of what is meant by 
serfdom wherever it is found. There is the gafol and unlimited, 
there is the week-work ; and the latter is not limited 
to certain days each week, as in the * Rectitudines,' but 
* each week, except three in the year, they are to work 


And these are the services — this is the serfdom — 
on a manor which was part of the royal domain of 
King Alfred, which for three successive reigns at least, 
and probably for generations earlier, had been royal 
domain, and now by the last royal holder is handed 
over, with the men that were upon it, to the perpetual, 
never-dying lordship of a monastery, as an eternal 

Finally, the evidence of these Saxon documents — The chain 
the ' Rectitadines ' and the charters of Tidenham and ^«!!il!!^ 
Hysseburne — ^read in the light of the later evidence 
and of the earlier laws of King Ine, is so clear that it 
seems needful to explain how it has happened that 

u 2 


The English Village Community. 

Chap. V. there has ever been any doubt as to the servile nature 
of the services of the holders of yard-lands in Saxon 
times. The explanation is simple. Mr. Kemble 
quotes from all these documents in his chapter on 
* Lcenland ; ' ^ but for want of the clear knowledge what 
a yard-land was, it never seems to have occurred to 
him that in these services of the geburs or holders of 
yard-lands we have the services of the later villani of 
the Domesday Survey — the services of the holdings 
embracing by far the greater part of the arable land 
of England. Dr. Leo, in his work on the * Rectitu- 
dineSy' confesses that he does not know what is meant 
by the yard- land of the gebur.* It is only when, pro- 
ceeding from the known to the unknown, we get a 
firm grasp of the fact that the yard-land was the 
normal holding of the gebur or villanus^ that it was a 
bundle of normally thirty scattered acres in the open 
fields, that it was held in villenage, and that these 
were the services under which it was held of the 
manorial lord of the ham or tun to which it be- 
longed — it is only when these facts are known and 
their importance realised, that these documents be- 
come intelligible, and take their proper place as Unks 
in what really is an unbroken chain of evidence. 


T!httheofM, Quc word must be said of the theows or slaves on 
daw. the lord's demesne — the thane's inland — lest we should 

^ Saxons in England, pp. 319 

* H. Leo, Rectitudines. Halle, 
1842, p. 231. 'WenigBtens weisz 

ich " on his gyrde landes ** (auf seiner 
rate des gutes, oder des landes) an 
dieser stelle nicht anders zu er- 

The Theows or Slave Class. 


forget the existence of this lowest class of all, in con- Chap, v. 
trast with whose slavery the geburs and cottiers on 
the geneat land, notwithstanding their serfdom, were 
^free.' These latter were praedial serfs * adscript! 
glebae,' but not slaves. The theows were slaves, 
bought and sold in the market, and exported from 
English ports across the seas as part of the commercial 
produce of the island. Some of the theows were slaves 
by birth. But it seems to have been a not uncommon 
thing for freemen to sell themselves into slavery under 
the pressure of want.^ 

The * servi ' of the Domesday Survey were no doubt The sem 
the successors of the Saxon theows. And as in the Domesdaj 
Survey the servi are mostly found on the demesne ^^^^' 
land of the lord, so probably in Saxon times the 
theows were chiefly the slaves of the manor-house. 
Most of the farm work on the thane's inland, espe- 
cially the ploughing, was done no doubt by the ser- 
vices of the villein tenants ; but as, in addition to 
the villein ploughs, there were the great manorial 
plough teams, so also there were theows doing slave 
labour of various kinds on the home farm of the lord, 
and maintained at the lord's expense. 

In the bilingual dialogue of /Rlfric,^ written in 
Saxon and Latin late in the tenth century as an educa- 
tional lesson, in the reply of the ' yrthling ' or plough- 
man to the question put as to the nature of his daily 
work, a touching picture is given of the work of a 
theow conscious of his thraldom : — 

^ See Kemble*8 Saxom in Eng^ 
land, i. p. 196. 

* BritUh Muieum Cotton MS. 

Tib. A. m. f. 58 b. For the text of 
this passage I am indebted to Mi 
Thompson of the British Museum. 


The English Village Community. 

Chap. V. 

Feelings of 
the theow. 

HwflBt gcegest J^u yr))liiige P 
Hu begsDst ]>u weoro (nn P 
Eala leof hlaford ])earle ic 
deorfe ic ga ut oq d»gr»d Yf" 
wende oxon to felda and iug^e hig 
to syL Nys hyt swa stearc winter 
pset ic dune lutian set ham for 
ege hlafordes mines ac geiokodan 
ozan and gefsBBtnodon sceare and 
coltre mit )>8Bre ayl aelce daeg ic 
sceal erian fulne 8B)>er (aocer) oy^ 

HflBftt )m enigne geferan P 
Ic hffihbe Bumne cnapan |>ywende 
oxan mid gad iaene ^ eacawilce nu 
has ys for cylde and hreame. 
HwsBt mare dest ]ya on daegP 
Gewyslice ))»nne mare ic do. 
Ic sceal fyllan hinnan oxan mid 
hig and waeterian hig and soeasn 
(sceam) heora beran ut. hig hig 
mioel gedeorf ys hyt geleof micel 
gedeorf hit ys for))am ic neom 

What sayest thou, plowman P 
How dost thou do thy work P 
Oh, my lord, hard do I work. 
I go out at daybreak driving the 
oxen to field, and I yoke them to 
the plough. Nor is it ever so hard 
winter that I dare loiter at home, 
for fear of my lord, but the oxen 
yoked, and the ploughshare and 
coulter fiutened to the plough, 
every day must I plough a full 
acre, or more. 

Hast thou any comrade P 
I have a boy driving the oxen 
with an iron goad, who also is 
hoarse with cold and shouting. 

What more dost thou in the 

Verily then I do more. I must 
fill the bin of the oxen with hay, 
and water them, and cany out the 
dung. Ha ! ha ! hard work it is, 
hard work it is ! because lam not 

Perhaps some day his lord will provide him with 
an outfit of oxen, give him a yard-land, and make 
him into a gebur instead of a theow. This at least 
seems to be his yearning. 

or twfn 
or manors. 


We have hitherto spoken only of the manors. 
Are we therefore to conclude that there was no land 
extra-manorial ? 

It may be asked whether * folkland ' was not extra- 

Now in one sense all that belonged to the ancient 
demesne of the Crown was folkland and extra-ma- 
norial. All estates with the villages and towns upon 
them, which had no manorial lord but the king. 

Creation of New Manors. 167 

were in the demesne of the Crown, as also were the ^^^^' ^* 
royal forests. 

Formerly, while there were many petty kings in 
England, and before the kingship had attained its 
unity and its foU growth, i.e. before it had, as we are 
told by historians, absorbed in itself exclusively the 
sole representation of the nation, the term folMand 
was apparently applied to all that was afterwards 
included in the royal demesne. All that had not 
become the hoc-land or private property either of 
members of the royal house or of a monastery or of 
a private person was still folkland. And it would 
appear that the kings had originally no power to 
alienate this folkland without the consent of the 
great men of their witan. 

But inasmuch ad the royal demesne or folkland 
included an endless number of manors as well as 
forest, it cannot properly be said that it was neces- 
Barily extra-manorial. More correctly it was in the 
manor of the king. The king was its manorial lord, 
and the geburs and cottiers upon it were geneats or 
viUani of the king. The Tidenham and Hyssebume 
manors were both of them manors of the roya de- 
mesne until they were granted by charter to their 
new monastic owners. 

Now, it is dear that in the course of time, after 
that in a similar way grant after grant had been 
made of * ham * after * ham,' with its little territory — 
its agerj or ageUuSy or agellulusy as the ecclesiastical 
writers were wont to describe it in the charters — to 
the king's thanes or to monasteries, as boc-land or 
private estate, the number of * hams ' still remaining 
folkland would grow less and less. 


The English Village Community. 


Chap. V. Jq the meantime the royal forests were managed 

by royal foresters under separate laws and regulations 

of great severity, whilst the royal hams or manors 

Thew were Were put Under the management of a resident steward, 

iiraiiind u) proepositus or viUiais — in Saxon ' tun-gerefa^—^ox 

TOwaid for ^^^^ ^^^ ^^^ ^^^ ^'^ ^ lomland to neighbouring great 
men or their sons, or to thanes in the royal service. 

This granting of life-leases of folkland or hams 
on the royal demesne seems to have been a usual mode 
of rewarding special military services, and Bede 
bitterly complained that the profuse and illegitimate 
grants which were wheedled out of the king for pre- 
tended monastic purposes had already in his time 
seriously weakened the king's power of using the 
royal estates legitimately as a means of keeping up 
his army and maintaining the national defences.^ To 
be able to provide some adequate maintenance for 
the thanes, on whose services he reUed, was a king's 
necessity; for well might King Alfred enforce the 
truth of the philosophy of his favourite Boethius by 
exclaiming that every one may know how ' full miser- 
able and fiiU unmighty ' kings must be who cannot 
count upon the support of their thanes.* 

But from the nature of the case it was inevitable 
that the area of folkland or royal demesne must con- 
stantly be lessened as each succeeding grant increased 
the ai-ea of the boc-land. In other words, to use the 
later phrase, the tendency was not only for new 

for them to 
pats into 

> Bede 8 letter to Bishop %bert. 
Smith, p. 809. ' Quod enim turpe est 
dioere, tot suh nomine monasterio- 
rum loca hi qui monachicae vitie 
prorsus sunt expertes in euam ditio- 
nem acceperant, sicut ipa melius! 

nostisy ut omnino dent locus, uhiJUii 
nobUium out emeritorum tniUtum 
paaestionem accipere possint,* &c. 

* King Alfired't Boethius, c. 
xxix. 8. 10. 

Creation of New Manors. 


manors to be created out of the royal forests and <^^p^' 
wastes, but also for more and more of the royal 
manors to pass from the royal demesne into private 

Now there is a remarkable passage in one of King ^8 
Alfred's treatises^ which incidentally throws some iketchof 
light upon this process, and explains the way in of a^w 
which new manors may have been created. He de- ****• 
scribes how the forest or a great wood provided every 

■ Alfred's Blostam Oatherings 
cut of St. Augustine, British Mu- 
seum, Vit. A. XV. f. 1 : — Gade- 
rode me jTonne kijdas "] stu|>aD 
Bceaftas *] lohsceaftas "} hylfa to 
selcum ])ara tola |>e ic mid pircan 
cuiSe 'j bohtimbra "j bolt timbru ^ 
to flslcum J^ara peorca fe ic pyican 
cut$e ftL plitejostan treopo be pam 
dele fie ic aberan meihte. ne com ic 
naj^er mid anre byr^ne ham fe me 
ne Ijste ealne )«De pude ham brenjan 
PF ic hyne ealne aberan meihte. on 
selcum treopo ic jeeeah hpiet hpupi 
pma ))e ic »t ham be)H>rfte. For 
|mm ic lere lelcne tkura fe maja si 
"] ma[mgne] psen hiebbe f he menije 
to )mm ilcan puda Jwr ic ISas stu5an 
sceaftas cearf. Fetije hym far ma "] 
jefetSrije hjs p»nas mid feprum 
gerdum ]iat he maje pindan manipie 
smiceme pan "] manlj aenlic bus 
settan ^ fejeme tun timbrian *} )>ara 
'} fmr murje "] softe mid nue^e on- 
eardian seji^er ^e pintras je sume- 
ras spa spa ic nu ne 27t ne dyde. Ac 
Be feme Iserde pern se pudu licode 
se me^ ^edon f ic softor eardian 
Bd^lSer je on fuum Isenan stoclife be 
Jns piBje HtL phile fe ic on fiaae 
peorulde beo je eac on )»am hecan 
bame ^ he us jehaten hef5 Jmrh 

scanctus augustinus "] sSs jrejorius 
"} scanctus leronimus "] purh manege 
otiiTe halie fasdras spa ic ^elyfe. eac 
f he jedo for heora ealra eamum je 
aejtSer je |>isne peij ^elimpfulran 
jedo )H>nne he aer ])issum pes je 
hure mmes modes eajan to fern on- 
jelihte f ic maje rihtne pei^ are- 
dian to pam ecan hame ^ to )>am 
ecan are *] to J^are ecan reete fe us 
jehaten is )mrh ]« haljan fas- 
deras sie spa. Nis hit nan pundor 
feah m[an] sp[ylce] on timber j^ 
pirce ^ eac on |>e[re] lade "j eac 
on )>8Bre bytlinje. ac aelcne man lyst 
siSfSan he flenij cotlyf on his hla- 
fordes Issne myd his fultume jetim* 
bred hasfS f he hine mote hpilum 
fex onjerestan. "^ huntijan. "] 
fulian. "] fiscian. "] his on jehpilce 
pisan to fmre lenan tilian ejl'®' 
je on se ^e on lande ol$ ot )x)ne 
fyrst fe he bocland "] see yrfe )nirh 
his hlafordes miltsejeeamij^. spaje* 
do se pile ja pdibla se^ epSet 
pilt je Jnssa Isonena stoclife je )>ara 
ecena hama. Set$e m^fer ^escop ^ 
egSeres f«lt forpfe me j) me to 
aej^rum onhap^e je her nytpyrde 
to beonne je hum }nder to cu- 
mane. — For the text of this passaga 
I am indebted to Mr. Thompson. 

170 The English Village Community. 

^^^^' V. requisite of building, shafts and handles for tools, bay- 
timbers and bolt timbers for house-building, fair rods 
{gerda) with which many a house {htis) may be con-^ 
structed, and many a fair tun timbered, wherein men 
may dwell permanently in peace and quiet, summer 
and winter, which, writes the king with a sigh, * is 
more than I have yet done ! ' There was, he said, 
an eternal ' ham ' above, but He that had pro- 
mised it through the holy fathers might in the mean- 
time make him, so long as he was in this world, to 
dwell softly in a log-hut on Icenland (' kenan stoclif* ^ ), 
waiting patiently for his eternal inheritance. So we 
wonder not, he continued, that men should work 
in timber-felling and in carrying and in building,^ 
for a man hopes that if he has built a cottage on 
laenland of his lord, with his lord's help, he may be 
allowed to lie there awhile, and hunt and fowl and 
fish, and occupy the ken as he likes on sea and land, 
until through his lord's grace he may perhaps some 
day obtain boc-land and permanent inheritance. Then 
finally he completes his parable by reverting once 
more to the contrast between * thissa laenena stoclife ^ 
and ' thara ecena hama ' — between the log hut on laen- 
land and the permanent freehold * ham ' on the boc-- 
land^ or hereditary manorial estate. 

It is true that in this passage King Alfred does 
not suggest distinctly that the lord would make the 
actual holding of laenland into boc-land, thus convert- 
ing a clearing in his forest into a new manor for his 
thane ; but, on the other hand, there was a good reason 

1 *Stoc-lif; literaUy stake-hut. 
The logs were put upright, as in the 
case of the Saxon church at Oreen" 

atead in Essex. 

* 'Bytlinge;' hence the house 
was a ' bctlj* 

Creation of New Manors. 171 

for this omission, seeing that such a suggestion would ^^'*- ^« 
have just overreached the point of his parable. 

Be this as it may, the vivid little glimpse we get 
into the modus operandi of the possible growth of a 
Saxon manorial estate, out of folkland granted first as 
lamland, and then as boodandj or out of the woods 
or waste of an ealdorman's domain, may well be 
made use of to illustrate the matter in hand. 

The typical importance in so many ways of the The roo, 
gyrd, or rod, or virga in the origin and growth of the mrga tn 
Saxon * tun ' or ' ham ' is worth at least a moment's Sawjl*^ 
notice. ***»• 

The typical site for a new settlement was a clear- 
ing in a wood or forest, because of the ' fair rods * 
which there abound. The clearing was measured 
out by rods. An allusion to this occurs in Notker's 
paraphrase of Psa. Ixxviii. 55 — *He cast out the 
* heathen before them, and divided them an inherit- 
' ance by line.* The Vulgate which Notker had 
before him was * Et sorte divisit eis terram in funi- 
^ culo distributionis ; * and he translated the last clause 
thus — * teilta er daz lant mit mazseile,' — to which he 
added, * also man nu toot mit ruoto,' as they now do 
it with rods, i.e. at St. Gall in the tenth or eleventh 

So in England the typical holding in the cleared 
land of the open fields was called a ^ar(2-land, or 
in earlier Saxon a gyrd landes. or in Latin a virgata 
terras ; yard, gyrd, and virga all meaning rod, and all 
meaning also in a secondary sense a yard measure. 
The holdings in the open fields were of yarded or 

1 SchUUri Tkesaur. ArUiq. Teut I p. 16& XJlm, 172a 

172 The English Village Community. 

Chap^\ rooded land — ^land measured out with a rod into 
acres four rods wide, each rod in width being there- 
fore a roodj as we have seen. 

Again, the whole homestead was called a tun or a 
worthj because it was tyned or girded with a wattled 
fence of gyrds or rods. And so, too, in the Gothic 
of Ulfilas the homestead was a ' gard.' So that in the 
evident connexion of these words we seem to get 
confirmation of the hint given by King Alfred of the 
process of the growth of new manors. 
i^.^«5n« The young thane, with his lord's permission, 

oienriiig in makes a clearing in a forest, building his log hut and 
'~ * then other log huts for his servants. At first it is 
forest game on which he lives. By-and-by the cluster 
of huts becomes a little hamlet of homesteads. He 
provides his servants with their outfits of oxen, and 
they become his geburs. The cleared land is measured 
out by rods into acres. The acres ploughed by the 
common plough are allotted in rotation to the yard- 
lands. A new hamlet has grown up in the royal 
forest, or in the outlying woods of an old ham or 
manor. In the meantime the king perhaps rewards 
his industrious thane, who has made the clearing in 
his forest, with a grant of the estate with the village 
upon it, as his boc-land for ever, and it becomes 
a manor, or the lord of the old manor of which 
it is a hamlet grants to him the inheritance, and the 
hamlet becomes a subject manor held of the higher 

So we seem now to see clearly how new tuns and 
hams or manors were always growing up century 
after century, on the royal demesne and on private 
estates or manors, as in a former chapter it became 

Laws of King Ethelbert 173 

clear incidentally how new geburs with fresh yard- ^^^' ^« 
lands could be added to the village community, and 
the strips which made up the yard-lands intermixed 
with those of their neighbours in the village fields. 


We have seen that not only the general descrip- i^mt and 
tion of serfdom contained in the * Rectitudines^' but timTo?*^* 
also the two examples we have been able to examine ^<^«i*>«*» 
of serfdom upon particular manors in Saxon times, 
testify clearly to the existence of a serfdom upon 
Saxon manors as complete and onerous as the later 
serfdom upon Norman manors. And we have seen 
that, connecting this evidence with that of the laws of 
King Ine, the proof is clear of the existence of manors 
and serfdom in the seventh century, i.e. 400 years 
before the Norman Conquest. There remains to be 
quoted the still earher though scanty evidence of the 
laws of King Ethelbert, a.d. 597-616 ; which, if 
genuine, bring us back to the date of the mission of 
St. Augustine to England. 

The evidence of these laws is accidental and in- 
direct, but taken in connexion with that already con- 
sidered, it seems to show conclusively that the * hams ' 
and * tuns ' of that early period were already manors. 
Upon one point at least it is clear. It goes so far in single 
as to indicate that they were in the ownership of ^^ ^^' 
individuals, and not of free village communities. 

The following passages occur : — 

174 The English Village Community. 

Chap. V. 





m. Eip cjninj »c mannej* 
ham bpinc8&l$y &c. 

y. £ip m c^injef cdne man 
mannan o|7*lea, &c. 

xm. Dip on eoplef tnine man 
mannan opfl»hl$, &c. 

xyn. Lip man m mannep cun 
epep: jeipne^, &c. 

3. If the king drink at a man's 
ham, &c. 

5. If in the king*8 tun a man 
slay another, &c. 

18. If ui an earFs tun a man 
slay another, &c. 

17. If a man into a man's tvn 
enter, &c. 

If there be any doubt as to the manorial charac- 
ter of these * hams ' and ' tuns/ it lies not in the point 
of the single ownership of them, but in other points, 
whether they were worked and tilled by the owners* 
slaves, or by a village community in serfdom. 

The only classes of tenants which are mentioned 
in the laws of King Ethelbert are the three grades of 
loBts referred to in the following passage : 

XXYI. Ijip [man] l»c oppls&ht^ 
pone fdepcan.lxxx. pciIL popjelbe. 
Dip )>ane otSejine opplasht^. Ix. 
fCiUmjum popjelbe. ^ne ]>pib- 
ban. xl. fcillin2;um popjelben. 

26. If [a man] slay a M of the 
best [class], let him pay Ixxx. shil* 
lings : if he slay one of the second, 
let him pay Ix. shillings: of the 
third, let him pay xl. shillings 

The word ket is of doubtful meaning in this pas- 
sage. It might have reference to the Boman Iceti^ or 
people of conquered tribes deported into Boman 
provinces at the end of a war ; or it might refer to 
the liti or lidi — the servile tenants mentioned in so 
many of the early Continental codes. We are not 
yet in a position to decide. But in any case these 
loBts of King Ethelbert's laws were clearly of a semi- 
servile class here in Kent, as were the lidi in Frankish 
Gaul,^ for their ' wergild ' was distinctly less than that 
of the Kentish freemen.* Whether they were a dif- 

1 SeeM. Gu^rard's Introduction l pp. 250-75. 
to the PolyptyquederAbbSIrminon, \ * The leod^dd or wer-gild of a 

Result of Saxon Evidence. 


ferent class from the geburs or villani, or identical Chap^v. 
with them, it is not easy to decide. 


The evidence of the earliest Saxon or Jutish laws 
thus leaves us with a strong presumption, if not actual 
certainty, that the Saxon ham or tun was the estate of 
a lord, and not of a free village community, and that 
it was so when the laws of the Kentish men were first 
codified a few years after the mission of St. Augustine. 

It becomes, therefore, all but impossible that the ''*• . , 

' ' , ^ manorial 

manorial character of EngUsh hams and tuns can have syftwn not 
had an ecclesiastical origin. The codification of the Mticai 
laws was possibly indeed the direct result of eccle- ®"^"* 
siastical influence no less than in the case of the Ala- 
mannic, and Bavarian, and Visigothic, and Burgundian, 
and Lombardic codes. In all these cases the codifi- 
cation partook, to some extent, of the character of a 
compact between the king and the Church. Boom 
had to be made, so to speak, for the new ecclesiastical 
authority. A recognised status and protection had 
to be given to the Church for the first time, and this 
introduction of a new element into national arrange- 
ments was perhaps in some cases the occasion of the 
codification. This may be so ; but at the same time 
it is impossible that a new system of land tenure can 
have been suddenly introduced with the new reli- 

< man 'was 200 shillings (see men- 
tion of the half leod-geld of c. shil- 
lings, s. 21). As regards the three 
grades of lats, there were also three 
grades of female theotos of the king 

(see s. 10-11 )y the cup-bearer, the 
grinding-theovo, and the lowett class. 
See also s. 16, where again there is 
mention of three classes of theowSf 
each with its value. 

176 The English Village Community. 

OnMf/9^, ^on. The property granted to the Church from the 
first was ah*eady manorial. A ham or a tun could 
not be granted to the Church by the king, or an earl, 
unless it already existed as a manorial estate. The 
monasteries became, by the grants which now were 
showered down upon them, lords of manors which 
were already existing estates, or they could not have 
been transferred. 

Further, looking within tke manor, whether on the 

royal demesne or in private hands, it seems to be 

The hold- clear that as far back as the evidence extends, i.e. the 

yaid-Unds time of King Ine, the holdings — the yard-lands — ^were 

IS^i held in YiUenage, and were bundles of a recognised 

number of acre or half-acre strips in the open field, 

handed down from one generation to another in single 

succession without alteration. 

Now let it be fully understood what is involved in 
this indivisible character of the holding, in its devolu- 
tion from one holder to another without division 
among heirs. We have seen that the theory was that 
as the land and homestead, and also the setene, or 
outfit, were provided by the lord, they returned to the 
lord on the death of the holder. The lord granted 
the holding afresh, most often, no doubt, to the eldest 
son or nearest relation of the landholder on his pay- 
ment of an ox or other relief in recognition of the 
servile nature of the tenure, and thus a custom of 
primogeniture, no doubt, grew up, which, in the 
course of generations — how early we do not know — 
being sanctioned by custom, could not be departed 
from by the lord. The very possibility of this per- 
manent succession, generation after generation, of 
a single holder to the indivisible bundle of strips 

Result of Saxon Evidence. 177 

called a yard-land or virgate, thus seems to have Chap^. 
impHed the servile nature of the holding. The lord because 
put in his servant as tenant of the yard-land, and put sute^ 

^^»i^^ A.L. 

in a successor when the previous one died. This ^^\ 
seems to be the theory of it. It was probably pre- fjj^22 ^ 
cisely the same course of things which ultimately pro- propertj 
duced primogeniture in the holding of whole manors, hein. 
The king put in a thane or servant of his (sometimes 
called the * king's geneat '), or a monastery put in a 
steward or villicus to manage a manor. When he 
died his son may have naturally succeeded to the 
office or service^ until by long custom the office became 
hereditary, and a succession or inheritance by primo- 
geniture under feudal law was the result. The bene- 
fice, or ten, or office was probably not at first generally 
hereditary; though of course there were many cases 
of the creation of estates of inheritance, or boc-landj 
by direct grant of the king. As we have seen fi'om 
the passage quoted from Bede, the ken of an estate 
for life was the recognised way in which the king's 
thanes were rewarded for their services. 

Thus it seems that in the very nature of things 
the permanent equality of the holdings in yard-lands 
(or double, or half yard-lands), on a manor, was a 
proof that the tenure was servile, and that the com- 
munity was not a free village community. For imagine 
a free village community taking equal lots, and holding 
these lots, as land of inheritance, by allodial tenure, 
and with (what seems to have been the universal cus- 
tom of Teutonic nations as regards land of inheritance) 
equal division among heirs, how could the equality 
be possibly maintained? One holder of a yard -land 
would have seven sons, and another two, and another 


178 The English Village Community. 

o^^^'^ ' one. How could equality be maintained generation 
after generation ? What could prevent the multipli- 
cation of intricate subdivisions among heirs, breaking 
up the yard-lands into smaller bundles of all imagin- 
able sizes? Even if a certain equality could be 
restored, which is very unlikely, at intervals, by a 
re-division^ which should reverse the inequality pro- 
duced by the rule of inheritance, what would become 
of the yard-lands? How could the contents of the 
yard-land remain the same on the same estate for 
hundreds of years, notwithstanding the increase in 
the number of sharers in the land of the free village 
community ? 

We may take it, then, as inherently certain that 
the system of yard-lands is a system involving in 
its continuance a servile origin. The community of 
holders of yard-lands we may regard as a community 
of servile tenants, without any strict rights of in- 
heritance — in theory tenants at the will of their lord, 
becoming by custom adscripti glebce, and therefore 
tenants for life, and by still longer custom gaining a 
right of single undivided succession by primogeniture, 
or something very much like it. 
^sltto^ Now we know that the holdings were yard-lands 

»?ideiice. and the holders geburSy rendering the customary gafol 
and week-work to their lords, in the time of King Ine, 
if we may trust the genuineness of his * laws.' There 
was but an interval of 100 years between Ine and 
Ethelbert ; whilst Ine lived as near to the first con- 
. quest of large portions of the middle districts of 
England as Ethelbert did to the conquest of Kent. 

The laws of Ethelbert, taken in connexion with 
the subsequent laws of Ine, and the later actual in- 

Result of Saxon Evidence. 179 

stances of Saxon manors which have been examined, c^^p^. 
form a connected chain, and bring back the links of No room 

fOT ft SYS* 

the evidence of the manorial character of Saxon unoffree 
estates to the very century in which the greater part ^^Jni- 
of the West Saxon conquests took place. The exist- ^JJJ^^J^ 
ence of earl's and king's and men's hams and tuns "nkinto 
in the year of the codification of the Kentish laws, 
A.D. 602 or thereabouts, means their existence as a 
manorial type of estate in the sixth century ; and with 
the exception of the southern districts, the West 
Saxon conquests were not made till late in the sixth 
century. Surely there is too short an interval left 
imaccounted for to allow of great economic changes 
— to admit of the degeneracy of an original free vil- 
lage community if a widely spread institution, into a 
community in serfdom. So that the evidence strongly 
points to the hams and tuns having been manorial in 
their type from the first conquest. In other words, 
so far as this evidence goes, the Saxons seem either 
to have introduced the manorial system into Eng- 
land themselves, founding ham.s and tuns on the 
manorial type, or to have found them already existing 
on their arrival in Britain. There seems no room for 
the theory that the Saxons introduced everywhere 
free village communities on the system of the German 
*mark,' which afterwards sank into serfdom under 
manorial lords. 

But before we can be in a position to understand 
what probably happened we must turn our attention 
to those portions of Britain which were not manorial^ 
and where village communities did not generally exist. 
They form an integral part of our present England, 
and English economic history has to do with the 

ir 2 

180 The English Village Community. 

Chap.v. economic growth of the whole people. It cannot. 
The tribal therefore, confine itself to facts relating to one ele- 
2JJJ^ ment only of the nation, and to one set of influences, 
"*^" J^^^ly because they became in the long run the 
paramount and overruling ones. And, moreover, the 
history of the manorial system itself cannot be pro- 
perly understood without an understanding also of the 
parallel, and perhaps older, tribal system, which in 
the course of many centuries it was destined in some 
districts to overrule and supplant ; in others, after cen- 
turies of effort, to fail in supplanting. 




The Saxon land system has now been examined. No c^ap/^ 
feature has been found to be more marked and general 
than its universally manorial character ; that is to 
say, the Saxon ^ ham ' or ^ tun ' was an estate or 
manor with a village community in villenage upon 
it. And the services of the villein tenants were of a 
uniform and clearly defined type ; they consisted of 
the combination of two distinct things — fixed gafol 
payments in money, in kind, or in labour, and the 
more servile week-work. 

It is needful now to examine the land system 
beyond the border of Saxon conquest. 

A good opportunity of doing this occurs in the 
Domesday Survey. 

The Tidenham manor has already been examined. 
It afforded a singularly useful example of the Saxon 
system. Its geographical position, at the extreme 
south-west comer of England, on the side of Wales, 
enabled us to trace its history from its probable 
conquest in 577, or soon after, and to conclude 
that it remained Saxon from that time to the date of 


The Tribal System. 

of the 


^ ^^^'^ ^' the Survey ; and distinctly manorial was found to be 
West ride ^^ character of its holdings and services. 

Now, the neighbouring land, on the west side of 
the Wye, was equally remarkable in its geographical 
position. For as long as Tidenham had been the 
extreme south-west corner of England, so long had 
the neighbouring land between the Wye and the 
Usk been the extreme south-east corner of un- 
conquered Wales. 

It was part of the district of Gwenty and it seems 
Bemained to have remained in the hands of the Welsh till 
oonquered Harold couqucred it from the Welsh king Grufiydd, 
by Harold. ^ f^^ years Only before the Norman Conquest. 

Harold seems to have annexed whatever he 
conquered between the Wye and the Usk — i.e. in 
Gwent — to his earldom of Hereford ; and after the 
Norman Conquest it fell into the hands of William 
FitzOsbom, created by William the Conqueror Earl 
of Hereford and Lord of Gwent.^ 

It was he * who built at Chepstow the Castle of 
Estrighoiely the ruins of which still stand on the west 
bank of the Wye, opposite Tidenham. His son, Roger 
RtzOsbern, succeeded to the earldom of Hereford 
and the lordship of Gwent ; and, upon his rebellion 

^ Liber LandavensiSf p. 545. 
Ordencui Vitalis, ii. 190. It may 
have been conquered in 1049, after 
Grafiydd and Irish pirates had, ac- 
cording to Florence, crossed the 
Wye and burned 'Dymedham' 
(see Freeman*8 yarman Conquest^ 
iL App. P) ; but most likely 
shortly before A.i>. 1065, under 
which date is the following entry 
in the Saxon Chronicle : — 

* A. 10C5. In this year before 

Lammas, Harold the Eorl ordered a 
building to be erected in Wales at 
Portskewith after he had subdued it, 
and there he gathered much goods 
and thought to have King Edward 
there for the purpose of hunting ; 
but when it was all ready, then 
went Cradock, Griffin's eon, with 
the whole force which he could pro- 
cure, and slew almost all the people 
who there had been building.' 
' Domesday, i. 162 a. 

The Domesday Survey in Wales. 


and imprisonment, this region of Wales became terra . 
regis, and as such is described in the Domesday Sur- 
vey, mostly as a sort of annexe to Gloucestershire,^ 
but partly as belonging to the county of Hereford.^ 

Nor is Gwent the only district very near to Soaisoth* 
Tidenham whose Welsh history can be traced down Archen- 
to the time of the Domesday Survey. There was 
another part of ancient Wales, the district of Ergyng^ 
or Archenfield^ — which included the * Golden Valley ^ 
of the Dour. It lay, like Gwent — but further north — 
between the unmistakable boundaries of the Wye and 
the Usk, and it remained Welsh till conquered by 
Harold ; and this is confirmed by the fact that the 
district of 'Arcenefelde ' is brought within the Umits 
of the Domesday Survey* as an irregular addition 
to Herefordshire, just as Gwent was an annexe to 

Here, then, we have two districts, one to the 
west and the other to the north of Tidenham, both 
of which clearly remained Welsh till conquered by 
Harold a few years before the Norman Conquest, and 
both of them are described in the Domesday Survey. Both 
Further, it so happens that because they had been dSlSbed 
but recently conquered, and had not yet been added ^ *^® 
to any English county, and because also their cus- Survey. 
toms differed from those of the neighbouring English 
manors, the services of their tenants, quite out of 
ordinary course, are described. 

So that, by a convenient chance, we are able to 
bring together upon the evidence of the Domesday 

1 Ibid. 162 a et »eq. 

' 1856. See also Freeman's 

Nonnan Conquest, ii. App. SS, p. 

' Domesday J L 179 a. 


The Tribal System. 

Chap. VI. Survey the land systems of a district which for five 
hundred years before the Norman Conquest had been 
the extreme south-east edge of Wales, and of a dis- 
trict which for the same five hundred years had been 
the extreme south-west comer of Saxon England, 
beyond the Severn. 

We have seen what was the Saxon land system 
on one side of the Wye, which divided the two dis- 
tricts; let us now see what was the Welsh land 
system on the other side of the river, so far as it is 
disclosed in the Survey. 

Owent. Part of the Welsh district of Gwent is thus described 

in tlie Domesday annexe to Gloucestershire : — 

' Under Waswic, the pnepositus, are xiiL yillaB ; under [another prse- 
positus] xiiii. villee, under [another prsBpositus] xiii, under [another prsB- 
podtus] xiiii. (f.e. 54 in all). These render xlviL seztars of honey, and 
zl. pigs, and zli. cows, and zrviii. shillings for hawks.^ . . . 

'Under the same prsepopiti are four TillsB wasted by King Cara^ 
duech.' * 

Again, a little further on, this entry occurs : — 

' The same A. has in Wales vm. vUUi which were in the demesne of 
Count William and Roger his son (f.e. Fitz-Osbem, Earl of Hereford 
and Lord of Gwent). These render vi, $extars of honey , tL pigs, and z. 

Passing to the Domesday description of the dis- 
trict of Archenjield, we find a similar record. 
AroheB- The heading of the survey for Herefordshire * is 

as follows : ' Hie annotantur terras tenentes in Here- 

^ See Leges WaUice, p. 812. 
* De qualihet villa rusticana dehet 
habere ovem fetam vel 4 denarios in 
cibos accipitrum.' The 54 villse 
at 4c^. each would make zviii. «. 

(P whether zzyiii. by an eztra z. in 

' Domesday, i. 162 a, 

* Domesday, i. 162 a (last entry). 

* F.179a. 

The Domesday Survey in Wales. 185 

fordscire et in Arcenefelde et in Walis.' And further Chaf. vl 
on ^ we learn that — 

'Id Aremefeide the king has 100 men less 4, who with their men 
haTe 73 teams, and give of custom 41 seztars of honey and 20b, instead 
of the sheep which they used to give, and 10«. torfumagmm \ nor do 
they give gM or other custom, except that they march in the ]dng*t 
army if it is so ordered to them. If a liher homo dies there, the king 
has his horse, with arms. From a viUamu when he dies the king has 
one ox. King Grifin and Blein devastated this land in the time of King 
Edward, and so what it was then is not known.' Lagademar pertained 
to Arcenefelde in the time of King Edward, &c. There is a manor [at 
Arcenefelde] in which 4 liheri homines with 4 teams render 4 sextars of 
honey and 16<7. of custom. Also a villa with its men and 6 teams, and 
a forest, rendering a half sextar of honey and 6<7. 

There are other instances of similar honey rents, 

In Chipette 57 men vnth xix. teams render xv. sextars of honey and 
X. shillings. 

In Cape v. Welshmen having v. teams render v. sextars of honey, 
and V. sheep with lambs, and xd. 

In Mainaure one under-tenant having iv. teams renders vL sextars of 
honey and x. «. 

In Penebecdoc one under-tenant having iv. teams render vL sextars of 
honey and x. s. 

In Htdla xii. villani and xii. bordarii with xL teams render xviiL 
sextars of honey. 

The distinctive points in these descriptions of the Food rents 
recently Welsh districts west and north of Tidenham ^n of*" 
are obviously (1) the prevalence of produce or food ^J^ ^ 
rents — Phoney, cows, sheep, pigs, &c. — honey being p^powtM. 
the most prominent item ; (2) the absence of the 
word * manor,' used everywhere else in the survey of 
Gloucestershire and Herefordshire ; (3) the remark- 
able grouping in the district of Gwent of the * villas * 
in batches of thirteen or fourteen^ each batch under a 
separate prcepositus, 

» R 181a 

186 The Tribal System. 

Chap. VI. Jt is clear that on the Welsh side of the Wye 
Welsh instead of Saxon customs prevailed, and that 
these were some of them.^ So much we learn from 
these irregular additions of newly conquered Welsh 
ground to the area of the Domesday Survey. 

The meaning of the peculiarities thus indicated 
will become apparent when the Welsh system has 
been examined upon its own independent evidence. 


There is no reason why, in trying to learn the 

nature of the Welsh land system, the method followed 

throughout, of proceeding backwards from the known 

to the unknown, should not be followed. 

Open-field Jt has already been shown that such arable fields 

system in "^ 

Wales. as there are in Wales, like the Saxon arable fields, 
were open fields. They were shown to be divided by 
turf balks, two furrows wide,* into strips called erws 
—representing a day's work in ploughing. The 
Welsh laws were also found to supply the simplest 
and clearest solution given anywhere of the reason 
of the scattering of the strips in the holdings, as well 
as of the relations of the grades of holdings to the 
number of oxen contributed by the holders to the 
common plough team of eight oxen. 

In fact, the Welsh codes clearly prove that, as 
regards arable husbandry, the open field system was 
the system prevalent throughout all the three dis- 
tricts of Wales. 

» So f. 185 6 : * In Castellaria 

de Carlton . . . iii. Walenses lege 

WaUnsi vivenies cum iii. car. et 

ii. bord. cum dim. car. et reddunt 
iiii. sextar. mellis.' 

* Ancient Laws of Walet, p. 373. 

Giraldus Cambrensis. 187 

But partly from the mountainous nature of the Chap, vl 
country, and partly from the peculiar stage of TheWeUh 
economic development through which the Welsh ^^^i 
were passing, long after the Norman Conquest they 
were still a pastoral people. Cattle rather than corn 
claimed the first consideration, and ruled their habits ; 
and hence the Welsh land system, even in later times, 
was very difierent from that of the Saxons. 

In fact, the two land systems, though both using 
an open-field husbandry, were in their main features 
radically distinct In those parts of Wales which 
were unconquered, and therefore uncivilised, till the 
conquest of Edward I., we look in vain in the early 
surveys for the manor or estate with the village 
community in villenage upon it. 

The Welsh system was not manorial. Its unit Nomanon 
was not a village community on a lord's estate. ' **' 

As late as the twelfth century Giraldus Cambrensis ^ Scattered 


described the houses of the Welsh as not built either timber 
in towns or even in villages, but as scattered along **'^^' 
the edges of the woods. To his eye they seemed 
mere huts made of boughs of trees twisted together, 
easily constructed, and lasting scarcely more than a 
season. They consisted of one room, and the whole 
family, guests and all, slept on rushes laid along the 
wall, with their feet to the fire, the smoke of which 
found its way through a hole in the roof* The Welsh, 
in fact, being a pastoral people, had two sets of home- 
steads. In summer their herds fed on the higher 
ranges of the hills, and in winter in the valleys. So 
they themselves, following their cattle, had separate 

* Description of Waie$, chap, cxvii. ^ C. x. 

188 The Tribal System. 

CHiP. VL huts for summer and for winter use, as was also the 
custom in the Highlands of Scotland, and is still the 
case in the higher Alpine valleys. Giraldus Cam- 
brensis describes the greater part of the land as in 
pasture and very little as arable ; and accordingly the 
food of the Welsh he describes, just as Caesar had 
described it eleven centuries earlier, as being chiefly 
the produce of their herds — milk, cheese and butter, 
and flesh in larger proportions than bread.^ The 
latter was mostly of oats. 
WeUh The Welsh ploughed for their oats in March and 

p oug iDg. ^ppjj^ g^jj J fQP wheat in summer and winter, yoking to 

their ploughs seldom fewer than four oxen ; and he 
mentions as a peculiarity that the driver walked 
backward in front of the oxen, as we found was the 
custom in Scotland.* 
Love of Another marked peculiarity of the Welsh was 

their hereditary liking and universal training for war- 
like enterprise. They were soldiers as well as herds- 
men ; even husbandmen eagerly rushed to arms from 
the plough.® Long settlement and the law of division 
of labour had not yet brought about the separation 
of the mihtary from the agricultural population of 
Wales even so late as the twelfth century. And here 
we come upon traces of their old tribal economy. 
For the facts that they had not yet attained to settled 
villages and townships, that they had not yet passed 
from the pastoral to the agricultural stage, that they 
were still craving after warfare and wild enterprise — all 

' C. viii. The district of Snow- 
don afforded the hest pasturage 

^ C. viiL and xyii. In the Isle of 
Man four oxen were yoked ahreast 

and Anglesey the best corn-grow- • to the plough, Train's Ide of Man, 
ing land. I il p. 241, » 0. viii. 

Ancient Laws of Wales. 189 

these are traces of tribal habits still remaining. And Chap, vl 
a still clearer mark of the same thing was the stress oeneaio- 
they laid upon their genealogy. Even the common ^®*- 
people (he says) keep their genealogies, and can not 
only readily recount the names of their grandfathers 
and great-grandfathers, but even refer back to the 
sta^th or seventh generation, or beyond them, in this 
manner: Rhys^ son of Gruffydh^ son of Rhys^ son of 
Theodor^ son of Eineon, son of Owen^ son of Howel^ 
son of Cadelhy son of Roderic Mawr, and so on.^ 

Thus in the twelfth century there were in Wales Sumyaii 
distinct survivals of a tribal economy. Instead of a tribal 
system like the Saxons, of village communities and "y*^™- 
townships, the Welsh system was evidently a tribal 
system in the later stages of gradual disintegration, 
tenaciously preserving within it arrangements and 
customs pointing back to a period when its rules had 
been in full force. 

But the Welsh codes must be further examined 
before the significance of the Domesday entries can be 
fully appreciated. 



The Welsh version of the ancient laws of Wales 
contains three several codes : The Venedotian of North 
Wales, the Dimetian and Gwentian of South Wales. 
They profess to date substantially from Howel dda^ Laws of 
who codified the local customs about the middle of theTenth 
the tenth century. They contain, however, later ^•'*^'^- 

» 0. xvii. 


The Tribal System. 


Saxon and 






of tribal 

additions, and the MSS. are not earlier than the end 
of the thirteenth century. There is a Latin version 
of the Dimetian code in MS. of the early part of the 
thirteenth century, which is especially valuable as 
giving the received Latin equivalent of the Welsh 
terms used in the laws. And there are also, apart 
from these codes, triads of doubtful date, but profess- 
ing to preserve traditional customs and laws of the 
Welsh nation before the time of the Saxon conquest 
of Britain.^ 

For the present purpose the actual date of a law 
or custom is not so important as its own intrinsic 
character. We seek to gain a true notion of the 
tribal system, and an economically early trait may 
well be preserved in a document of later date. 

There is no reason why we should be even tempted 
to exaggerate the antiquity of the evidence. The 
later the survival of the system the more valuable for 
our purpose. The Saxon and Welsh systems were 
contemporary systems, and it is best to compare them 
as such. 

It would appear that under this tribal system a 
district was occupied by a tribe {cenedl) under a petty 
king (brenhin) or chief. 

The tribe was composed of households of free 
Welshmen, all blood relations ; and the homesteads of 
these households were scattered about on the country 
side, as they were found to be in the time of Giraldus 
Cambrensis. They seem to have been grouped into 
artificial clusters mainly, as we shall see, for purposes 
of tribute or legal jurisdiction. 

* Ancient Laws and Institutes of Wales, Record Commission, 1841. 
See preface by Aneurin Owen, 

Ancient Laws of Wales. 


But all the inhabitants of Wales were not members cjhap. vi. 
of the tribes. Besides the households of tribesmen of 
blood relations and pure descent, there were hanging 
on to the tribes or their chiefs, and under the over- 
lordship of the latter, or sometimes of tribesmen, 
strangers in blood who were not free Welshmen; TMogi 
also Welshmen illegitimat^y born, or degraded for ^\^^ 
crime. And these classes, being without tribal or ^^**^ 
family rights, were placed in groups of households 
and homesteads by themselves. K there were any 
approach to the Saxon village community in villenage 
upon a lord's estate under Welsh arrangements, it 
was to be found in this subordinate class, who were 
not Welshmen, and had no rights of kindred, and were 
known as aillts and taeogs of the chief on whose land 
they were settled. Further, as there was this marked 
distinction between tribesmen and non-tribesmen, so 
Also there was a marked and essential distinction 
between the free tribe land occupied by the families 
of free Welsh tribesmen, called * tir gwelyawg^' or family 
land, and the ^caeth land' or bond land of the taeogs 
and aillts, which latter was also called ' tir-cyfrif or 
register land, and sometimes ' tir-kyllydtis ' or geldable 
land (gafol-land?).^ 

The main significance of the Welsh system, both 
as regards individual rights and land usages, turns 

» Venedotian Code, Ancient 
Laws of Wain, pp. 81^2, and see 
pp. 644-6 {Wekh Lam), Mr. 
Skene, in hie chapter on The Tribe 
in WaUs in his Celtic Scotland, iii. 
pp. 200, 201, does sot seem to have 
.grasped fully the distinction between 
the/re€ tribesmen and their family 

land on the one hand and the Aillts 
and Taeogs with their geldable or 
register Ifwd on the other. Every- 
thing, however, turns upon this. 
Compare Weisk Laws, xiv. s. 31 
and s. 32 (pp. 739-741), where 
the distinction is again clearly 

192 The Tribal System. 

Chap. vi. on this distinction between the two different classes of 
persons and the two different kinds of land occupied 
by them. They will require separate examination. 

Let us first take the free tribesmen (' Uchelwyrs * 
or * Breyrs ') and their * family land.* 
The frae jf the profcsscd triada of Dyvnwal Moelmud may 

be taken to represent, as they claim to do, the con- 
dition of things in earlier centuries, the essential to 
membership in the cenedly or tribe, was birth within 
it of Welsh parents. 

Free-bom Welshmen were * tied * together in a 
* social state ' by the three ties of — 

(1) Common defence (cyvnawdd). 

(2) Common tillage (cyvar). 

(3) Common law (chyvraith).^ 

Every free Welshman was entitled to three 
things : — 

(1) Five free erws (or acre strips). 

(2) Co-tillage of the waste (cyvar gobaith). 

(3) Hunting.* 

^ehome- rpj^^ ^^^ tribesman's homestead, or tyddyn^ con- 
^f^yn. sisted of three things : — 

(1) His house (ty). 

(2) „ cattle-yard (bu-arth). 

(3) „ corn-yard (yd-arth).' 

And the five free strips, afterwards apparently 

1 Ancient Lam of Wales, p. I ' Id. 651 (s. 83). 
638 (8. 46). I » P. 639 (s. 61). 

Ancient Laws of Wales. 193 

reduced to four, of each head of a house — free, Chap. vj. 
possibly, in the sense of their having been freed 
from the common rights of others over them, as well 
as being free from charges or tribute — we may pro- 
bably regard as contained in the tyddyny or as lying 
in croft near the homesteads. 

The Grwentiany Dimetian. and Venedotian codes all T^^ ^^^^' 

ing that 

represent the homestead or tyddyn and land of the ot a 
free Welshman as a family holding. So long as the or family, 
head of the family lived, all his descendants lived 
with him, apparently in the same homestead, unless 
new ones had already been built for them on the 
family land. In any case, they still formed part of 
the joint household of which he was the head.^ 

When a free tribesman, the head of a household, 
died, his holding was not broken up. It was held by 
his heirs for three generations as one joint holding ; 
it was known as the holding of * the heirs of So-and- 
so.'^ But within the holding there was equality of 
division between his sons ; the younger son, however, 
retaining the original tyddyn or homestead, and 
others having tyddyns found for them on the family 
land. All the sons had equal rights in the scattered 
strips and pasture belonging to the holding.^ 

Thus, in the first generation there was equality Equality 
between brothers; they were co-tenants in equal Siniiy 

» Pp. 81-2. 

* See the surveys in the Record 
of Cmjutrvon (14th century), where 
the holdings are sometimes called 
* WeleSf thus : — * In eadem villa 
sunt tria Wele libera, viz. Wde 
Yarthur ap Ruwon Wele Joz. ap 
Ruwon and Wele Keneth ap Ru- | p. 741. 


won. Et sunt heredes predicto Wele 
de Yarthur ap Ruwon, Eign. ap 
Griffiri and HoeU. ap Grifiri et alii 
coheredes sui;' and so on of the other 
Weles (p. 11). This is the common 
form of the survey pasiitn, 

• Ancient Laws, ^c, of Wales, 


The Tribal System. 


Chap. VI. shaxes of the family holding of which they were 

When all the brothers were dead there was, if 
desired, a re-division, so as to make equality between 
the co-heirs, who were now first cousins. 

When all the first cousins were dead there might 
be still another re-division, to make equality between 
the co-heirs, who were now second cousins. 

But no one beyond second cousins could claim 
equaUty ; and if a man died without heirs of his 
body, and there were no . kindred within the degree 
of second cousins, the land reverted to the chief who 
represented the tribe. ^ 

The great-grandfather was thus always looked 
back to as the common ancestor, whose name was 
still given to the family holding of his co-heirs. The 
family tie reached fi'om him to his great-grandchildren, 
and then ceased to bind together further genera- 

We have seen that even in the twelfth century 
the household all used one couch, extending round 
the wall of the single room of the house ; this couch 
was called the 'gwely.' The 'tir gwelyawg' was 
thus the land of the family using the same couch ; 
and the descendants of one ancestor living together 
were a * gweli-gordd.' ^ As late as the fourteenth 
century, in the Record of Carnarvon^ the holdings 

rather the 

The Gwely 
or family 

> Id. pp. 82 and 740. 

3 The fullest description of the 
rules of ^family land ' are those in 
the Venedotian Code^ c. xii.. The 
Law of Brothers far Land^ pp. 81 et 

»eq. See also WeUh Laws, Book 
IX. xxxi. p. 536 ; also Book XIV. 
xzzi. pp. 739 et seq, 

* Ancient Laws, ^., of Waiei^ 
Glossary, p. lOOL 

Anctent Laws of Wales. 195 

are still called * Weles ' and * Gavells.' They are Cm^i. 
essentially ' family ' or tribal holdings.^ 

And now as to the tenure upon which these 
holdings of the free tribesmen were held. 

It was a free tenure, subject to the obligation to The 
pay GwestvUy or ' food rent,' to the chief, and to some or food 
incidents which maiked an almost feudal relationship '®°'" 
to the chief, viz. : — 

(1) The Amohr^ or marriage fee of a female. 

(2) The Ehediw^^ or death payment (heriot). 

(3) Aid in building the king's castles. 

(4) Joining his host in his enterprises in the 
country whenever required, out of the country six 
weeks only in the year.^ 

These were the usual accompaniments of free 
tenure everywhere, and are no special marks of 

Several homesteads were grouped together in Tho««fw 

*^ -^ *-' pound ID 

* maenols ' or * irevs ' for the purpose of the payment of "eo of it. 
the Gwestva^ as we shall see by-and-by. This consisted 

in Gwent^ of a horse-load of wheat-flour, an ox, seven 
threaves of oats, a vat of honey, and 24 pence of 
silver.* And as the money value of the Gwestva was 
always one pound, so that its money equivalent was 
known as * the tunc pound,' holdings of family land 
were spoken of, as late as the fourteenth century, as 

* paying tunc ' ^ — the gwestva, or tunc pound in lieu 

* The Record of Carnarvon, 
pamim. Thus *the WeU of So- 
and-so, the son of So-and-so, and 
the heirs of this Wele am So-and- 


^ This was not payahle if an 

investiture fee had heen paid by the 
person dying. 

' Ancient Law$t ^c, p. 92 and 

* Id, p. 876. 

^ Book of Camarvanf panim. 

o 2 

196 The Tribal System. 

Chap. VI. of it, being the distinctive tribute of the free tribes- 

Such was the tenure of the family land, and tliese 
were the services of the free tribesmen. 
A free There is no trace here of villenage, or of the 

tenure. servilc week-xoork of the Saxon serf. The tribesmen 
had no manorial lord over them but tlieir chief, and 
he was their natural and elected tribal head. So, 
when Wales was finally conquered, the tunc was paid 
to the Prince of Wales, and no mesne lord was inter- 
posed between the tribesman and the Prince. 

Thus the freedi)m of the free tribesman was 
guarded at every point. 

Theai7//a Turning now to the other class, the aillts or 

wtatogs, iQ^^Qgg — wiiQ in tiie Latin translations of the laws are 

called villain — the key to tlieir position was tlieir 
non-possession of tribal blood, and therefore of the 
rights of kindred. They were not free-born Welsh- 
men ; though, on the other hand, by no means to be 
confounded with caeths, or slaves. They must be 
sworn men of some chieftain or lord, on whose land 
they were placed, and at whose will and pleasure they 
Their wcrc deemed to remain.^ Each of these taeogs had 
and ^"' his tyddyn — his homestead, with corn and cattle yard, 
piougiu,. j^ j^-g tyddyn he had cattle of his own. In South 

Wales several of these taeogs' homesteads were 
grouped together into what was called a taeog-trev. 
Further, the arable fields of the ' taeog-trev ' were 
ploughed on the open-field system by the taeogs' 

' Sometimes an 'uchelior* or 
trilxMman had taeogs under him. 
Ancitmt Laws, (if-c, pp. 88, 330. and 

673. See also Id, p. 040. WtM 


Ancient Laws of Wales. 


common plough team, to which each contributed chip, vl 

But the distinctive feature of the taeog-trev was pq'^tj 

• , " m the 

that an absolute equality ruled, not between brothers taeog-trey. 
or cousins of one household, as in the case of the 
family land of the free tribesmen, but throughout the 
whole trev. Family relationships were ignored. All 
adults in the trev — fathers and sons, and strangers in 
blood — took equal shares, with the single exception 
of youngest sons^ who lived with their fathers, and had 
no tyddyn of their own till the parent's death. This 
principle of equality ruled everything.^ The common 
ploughing must not begin till every taeog in the trev 
had his place appointed in the co-tillage.^ Nor could 
there be any escheat of land in the taeog-trev to the 
lord on failure of heirs ; for there was nothing heredi- 
tary about the holdings. Succession always fell (except 
in the case of the youngest son, who took his father's 
tyddyn) to the whole trev.^ When there was a death 
there was a re-division of the whole land, care, how- 
ever, being taken to disturb the occupation of the 
actual tyddyns only when absolutely needful.* 

The principle upon which the taeog's rights rested J°!w eapita 
was simply this : where there was no true Welsh of Wood 
blood no family rights were recognised. In the ab- 2dp.^°°' 
sence of these, equality ruled between individuals ; 
they shared * per capita,' and not ' per stirpes.' 

The land of a taeog-trev was, as already said, ^heip 
called * register land ' * — tir cyfrif. laud. 

1 Id. pp. 82 and 536. WeUh 
Laws, 8. xzxii. 
' 14. p. 376. 
» Id. p. 82. 

* Id. p. 82. 

* It was sometimes called ' tir 
kyllidiB/ or geldable land, as before 


The Tribal System. 

Chap. VI. 

to their 



There were other incidents markinjT off the taeojr 
from the free Welshman. He might not bear arms ; ^ 
he might not, without his lord's consent, become a 
scholar, a smith, or a bard, nor sell his swine, honey, 
or horse.^ Even if he were to marry a free Welsh 
woman, his descendants till the fourth, and in some 
cases the ninth degree, remained taeogs. But the 
fourth or ninth descendant of the free Welsh woman, 
as the case might be, might at last claim liis five free 
strips, and become the head of a new kindred.^ 

Even the taeog was, however, under these laws, 
hardly a serf. With the exception of his duty to 
assist the lord in the erection of buildin<?s, and to 
submit to kylchy i.e. to the lord's followers, being 
quartered upon him when making a * progress,' and to 
dovraith^ or maintenance of the chief's dogs and ser- 
vants, there seems to have been no exaction of menial 
personal services.* 

The taeogs' dues, like those of free Welshmen, 
consisted of fixed summer ana winter contributions 
of food for the chiefs table. In Gwent they had to 
provide in winter a sow, a salted flitch, threescore 
loaves of wheat bread, a tub of ale, twenty sheaves 
of oats, and pence for the servants. In summer, a 
tub of butter and twelve cheeses and bread.^ 

These tributes of food were called * dawnbwyds,* 
gifts of food, or ' board-gifts,' and from these the 
taeog or register land is in one place in the Welsh 
laws called tir bwrdd^ or ' board-land ' {terra men^aliay 

* Ancient Laws, ijrc, p. 673. 
« Pp. 3G-7 and 212-13. 

* Id, pp. 88 and 040. 

* Pp. 93 and 376. 

* P. 375-6. GuentumCode^U, 

Ancient Laws of Wales. 


or * mensal land ' ^), a term which we shall find again Chap^u. 
when we come to examine the Irish tribal system. 

Lastly, it must not be forgotten that beneath the The caeth 
taeogs, as beneath the Saxon geneat and gebur, were 
the * caeths/ or bondmen, the property of their 
owners,* without tyddyn and without land, unless 
such were assigned to them by their lord. These 
caeths were, therefore, not settled in separate trevs, 
but scattered about as household slaves in the tyddyus 
of their masters. 


There were, then, these two kinds of holdings: — 
those of the free tribesmen, of * family land,' and those 
of the taeogs, of * register land.' There remains to 
be considered the system on which the holdings were 
clustered together. 

The principle of this it is not very easy at first to The 
understand, and the difficulty is increased by a con- grouped 
fusion of terms between the codes. But there is one menrof 
fact, by keeping hold of which the system becomes ^®t^" 
intelligible, viz., that the grouping seems to have been tunc 
based upon the collective amount of the food-rerit. 
The homesteads, or tyddyns, each containing its four 
free erws, were scattered over the country side. But 
they were artificially grouped together for the purpose 
of the payment of the food-rent, or tunc pound in lieu 
of it. And by following the group which pays the 

* Ancient Laws, ^c, p. 697. 
» P. 2d4 (Dimetian Code). ' The 
caeth — there U no gcUanoi (death- 

fine) for him, only payment of his 
" werth ^ to his master tike the 
" werth ""ofa beast: 

200 The Tribal System. 

^^l-I^ * tunc pound ' as the unit of comparison, the at first 
conflicting evidence falls into its proper place. 

In the Venedotian Code the maenol is this unit. 
In the Dimetian and Gwentian Codes this unit is the 

rn North According to the Venedotian Code of North Wales,^ 

maenol the a ■■ . m 

unit for 4erw8 - 1 tyddyn. 

food-rent. 4 tjddjns - 1 randir 

4 randirs . . . . . - 1 gavael. 

4 gayaelB - 1 trev. 

4 treys « 1 maenol. 

12 maenolaand 2 Bupemumerary trevs * 1 cymwd (or comote). 

2 cymwds « 1 cantrev (100 treye). 

Ir hS?*^ The cymwd was thus a half-hundred, and each 

hundred of c)rinwd had its court, and so was the unit of legal 

■oaeiiou. jurisdiction. At its head was a maer and a cangheUor^ 

the two oflSoers of the chief who had jurisdiction over 


The twelve maenols in the cymwd were thus dis- 
posed : — 

1 free maenol for the support of the office of maer. 

1 free maenol for the support of the office of canghellor. 

6 occupied by ' uchelwrsy or tribesmen. 

Making 8 free maenols of ' family land/ from each of which a 
gwestva or tunc pound was paid. 
The other 4 maenols were 'register land' occupied by aiUta or 

taeogs, paying 'dawn bwyds." 

12 in the ' cvmwd.' ' 

Now, it must be admitted that all this singular 
system, arranged according to strict arithmetical rules, 
looks very much like a merely theoretical arrange- 
ment, plausible on paper but impossible in practice. 

It will be found, however, that there is more 

* Ancient LawSf ^f'c, pp. 90-1, " Id, p. 01, s. 14. 

Ancient Laws of Wales. 201 

probability, as well as reason and meaning in it, than Chap^i. 
at first sight appears. 

In the first place, as regards the twelve raaenols 
making up the cymwd^ there is no diflSculty ; four of 
them were taeog maenols and eight were free maenols. 
But there is an obvious diflSculty in the description of 
the contents of each maenol. Taken literally, the 
description in the Venedotian Code seems to imply 
that every maenol was composed of four trevs, each 
of which contained four gavaels composed of four 
randirs, each of which contained four tyddyns com- 
posed of four erws. But in this case the maenol would Threeecor* 

* , pence ox 

contain nothing but tyddyns — nothing but home- thetnnc 
steads! — there would be no arable and no pasture, ^^trev. 
This cannot be the true reading. A clue to the real 
meaning is found in a clause which, after repeating 
that from each of the eight free maenols in the 
cymwd the chief has a gwestva yearly, ' that is a 
pound yearly from each of them,' goes on to say, 
' Threescore pence is charged on each trev of the four 
that are in a maenol, and so subdivided into quarters in 
succession until each erw of the tyddyn be assessed.' ^ 
Now, from this statement it may be assumed that 
there must be some correspondence between the 
number of pence in the tunc pound and the number 
of erws in the maenol, otherwise why speak of each 
erw being assessed ? But, according to the foregoing 
figures, there would be 1,024 erws in the maenol.*^ 

* Id. p 91, 8. 16. In Leffes 
WalUce, p. 826, 'flcore pence ' or 
* score of silver ' Ib translated ' unda 
argenti;' /. 8 uncie agri should 
equal a ' trev,'' See lAher Lando' 
vefuiSf pp. 70 and 317. 

• 4 erw » tyddyn. 

16 „ - randir. 

64 „ B gavael. 
266 „ - trev. 
1024 ,, « maenoL 

202 The Tribal System. 

Chap. VI. Each trev, which thus contains 256 erws, is to pay 
Four threescore pence. How can 256 erws be divided 
hoidTngBTn into quarters till each erw is assessed ? Dividing the 
oftchtpev. ^^^^ i^y £^^j, ^^ gg^ |.|^^ gavael of sixty-four erws, and 

threescore pence divided by four is sixty farthings. 

It is evident that sixty farthings cannot be divided 

between sixty-four erws. But if we suppose each 

trev to contain four homesteads or tyddyns, then 

the gavael ^ of sixty-four erws would be the single 

holding belonging to a tyddyn or homestead, and the 

four erws in the actual tyddyn (which are to be free 

erws) being deducted, then the sixty farthings exactly 

correspond with the remaining sixty erws forming the 

holding of land appendant to the tyddyn, and each 

erw would pay one farthing. We may take it then 

as possible that each Venedotian maenol contained 

four trevs, paying sixty pence each, and that each 

trev was a cluster of four holdings of sixty erws 

each, in respect of which the holders paid sixty 

farthings each to the gwestva, holding their actual 

tyddyns free. 

Agronpof In Other words, each of the eight free maenols 

hom€H° contained sixteen homesteads, which sixteen home- 

"'^h steads were first classified in groups of four called 

tunc trevs. Or, to put the case the other way, the eight 

^° ' free maenols, were divided into quarters or trevs, and 

these trevs again each contained four homesteads. 

It is evidently a tribal arrangement, clustering 
the homesteads numerically for purposes of the pay- 
ment of gwestva, and probably the discharge of other 

^ The word ^fi6ai78tillin Scotch Gaelic retains ita meaoing of aftvm. 
The word u pronounced ^(jdo'-uV 

Ancient Laws of Wales. 


public duties, and not a natural territorial arrangement Cmap^7. 
on the basis of the village or township. 

Turning now to the Dimetian and Gwentian Codes, !« Sonth 

WiilM t]l6 

according to which the free trev instead of the maenol tnv w the 
is the gwestva-paying unit :^ there is first the group ^UtJa. 
of twelve trevs (instead of twelve maenols) under a 
single maer, and under the name of maenol instead 
of cyinwd ; but apparently all the trevs in the group 
of twelve * are free trevs. There are other groups of 
seven taeog -trevs making a taeog-maenol, and the 
maenol (instead of the cymwd) has its court, and 
becomes the unit of legal jurisdiction.^ 

Confining attention to the free maenol, the first 
thing to notice is that each of the twelve free trevs 
of which it was composed paid its gwestva, or tunc 
pound in Ueu of it. The trev, therefore, was the 
gwestva-paying unit. 

And as to the interior of the trev we read, — 

* There are to be four raodirs in the trev, from which the king's gwestra 
•hall be paid.' 

' 312 erwB are to be in the randir between clear and brake, wood and 
field, and wet and dry, except a supernumerary trev [the upland has in 

In this case the ' tunc pound ' of 240rf. was paid 
by each trev of 4 randirs, each randir containing 312 
erws, and the trev 1,248 erws in all. The trev in 
South Wales is, therefore, slightly larger than the 

' Ancient Laws, pp. 261. * Four 
randirs are to be in the tre^from 
which the king's gwestva is to be 
paid' (s. 5). 

' In upland districts there were 
13 trevs in the maenol, p. 375. 

• There were seven taeog-trevs 
in taeog-maenols, and each contained 

three randirs, in two of which there 
were three taeog-tyddyns to each, 
the third being pasture for the 
other two. There were therefore 
six taeog holdings in each taeog- 
trev. Ancient Laws, ^c, pp. 376 
and 829. 

* Pp. 374-6. 


The Tribal System. 

Chap. VI. 

The trev a 
cliuter of 

paying an 
ounce or 
ffcore ef 
silver, so 
them the 

Venedotian maenol. Here we are bound by uo law 
that the pence in the gwestva should exactly corre- 
spond with the number of erws. But in the other 
versions tlie 12 odd erws in the randir are stated to 
be for ' domicilia,' ^ or buildings, and 12 erws would 
allow of 3 tyddyns of the requisite 4 erws each. 

This fixes for us the number of homesteads or 
tyddyns in the trev. There were 3 tyddyns to each 
randir, and 4 randirs to tlie trev, and so there were 
12 tyddyns in each trev, and to each tyddyn there were 
appendant 100 erws in the arable, pasture, and waste. 

The trev which paid its tunc pound of 240rf. was 
thus made up of 12 holdings, each paying a score 
pence. And as in the Latin version of the Dimetian 
Laws (p. 825) a score pence is translated uncia argentic 
the connexion is at once made clear between the 
system of grouping the holdings so as to pay the tunc 
pound, and the monetary system which prevailed in 
Wales, viz., that according to which 20rf. made an 
ounce, and 12 ounces one pound. The 12 holdings 
each paying a score of pence, or ounce of silver, made 
up between them the tunc pound of the trev. 

This curious geometrical arrangement or classifi- 
cation of tyddyns and trevs, with an equal area of land 
to each, is at first sight entirely inconsistent with the 
division of the family land among the heirs of the 
holder, inasmuch as the greatgrandchildren when they 
divided the original family holding must, one would 
suppose, have held smaller shares than their great 

* P. 829. ' In randir continen- 
tuT ccc. et zii. acre : ut in ccc. acris, 
Araturam, et paf>cua et focalia pes- 
feesBor haheat; iude xii. domicilia.' 

See also p. 790. ' Id est xii. domi- 
cilia/ The Dimetian Code has it 
' space for buildings on the 12 erws ' 
(p. 203). 

Ancient Laws of Wales. 205 

grandfather. And there is only one answer to this. It ^^^^' ^'• 
would have been so if the tribe, and the families com- 
posing it, were permanently fixed and settled on the 
same land, and pursuing a regular agriculture, with 
an increasing population within certain boundaries. 
But the Welsh were still a pastoral people, and, as we 
shall see when we come to examine the Irish tribal ^ho txibai 


system, while the homesteads and land divisions were shifted 
fixed, the occupants were shifted about by the chiefs hoidmgs. ** 
from time to time, each sept, or clan, or family receiv- 
ing at each rearrangement a certain number of tyddyns 
or homesteads, according to certain tribal rules of 
blood relationship of a very intricate character. 

This permanence of the geographical divisions 
and homesteads, and shifting of the tribal households 
whenever occasion required it, was only possible with 
a pastoral and scanty population. Long before the 
fourteenth century the households were settled in 
their homesteads, geometrical regularity had ceased, 
and the land was divided and subdivided into irre- 
gular fractions. This is the state of things disclosed 
in the Record of Carnarvon. But in the tenth cen- 
tury, according to the Welsh laws, the old tribal rules 
were apparently still in force. 

Without pretending to have mastered all the xhecios- 
details of these obscure tribal arrangements, the housSioWi 
point to be noted is that the scattering of the tyddyns ^^ctu"^ 
all over the country side, and the clustering of them ^^\?} 
by fours and aixteens, or twelves, into the group system, 
which was the unit paying the gwestva or tunc pound, 
and again into clusters of twelve or thirteen ^ under a 

^ * There are to be thirteen trevs I of tbe«e ia the supernumeraiy trev,* 
in every maenol, and the thirteenth I Oicentian Code, p. 875. 

206 The Tribal System. 

Chap. VI. maer, as the unit of civil jurisdiction, were obviously 
distinctive features arising from the tribal holding of 
land, and that the system was adopted apparently to 
facilitate the division of the land among the families 
in the tribe somewhat in the same way as in the open 
field system the division of the arable land by turf 
balks into actual erws facilitated the division of the 
ploughed land among the contributors to the plough 

Bearing this in mind we may now turn back to 
the Domesday Survey, and compare its description of 
the land system of Gwent and Archenjield with the 
results obtained from the Welsh laws. 

In order, however, to make this comparison the 
Welsh terms must be translated into Latin, otherwise 
it will be diflScult to recognise the trev, and maer, 
and maenol, and gwestvain the Domesday description. 

lAtin The before-mentioned Latin version of the Dimetian 

S tilbii"^ Code, the MS. of which dates from the early thirteenth 

^^ century, will do this for us.^ 

Domesday It translates trev^ the unit of the tunc pound, by 
villa. It takes the Welsh word * maenol ' as equivalent 
to manor^ and indeed it did resemble the Saxon and 
Norman manor in this, that it was the unit of the 
jurisdiction of each single steward or viUicua of the 
chief. This officer was called in Welsh the maery 
which was translated into the Latin prcepositus. He 
did to some extent resemble the English pnepo- 
situs, but he differed in this — that instead of being 
set over the ' trev ' or ' villata ' of a single manor. 

' Leges Wallice, Ancient Law$t 6rc,, p. 771 et seq. 

The Domesday Survey in Wales. 207 

the Welsh maer was, as we have seen, set over a Chap^i. 
number of ' villas ' or trevs — thirteen free trevs or 
seven taeog-trevs, in Gwent — each free trev of which 
rendered its 'tunc pound' or 'gwestva,' and each 
taeog or villein-trev its ' dawn-bwyd ' of food. 

Now, this is precisely what is described in the 
Domesday Survey of Gwent. 

There are four groups of thirteen or fourteen Tho 

_ , clnnten of 

* villas ' or trevs, each group under a ' praepositus ' or wHa» 
maer; and these four groups, which were in fact ^^«* 
Gwentian ' maenols,' rendered as gwesta a food-rent |^.^nt. 
amounting to 47 sextars of honey, 40 pigs, 41 cows, 
and 28 shillings for hawks. 

In the district of Archenjield the clusters of trevs 
do not appear, but the food-rents were similar — honey 
being a marked item throughout. 

In the Welsh gwestva, also, hon^ was an important Honey 
element. It is mentioned as such in the Welsh codes, 
and it is conspicuous also in the Domesday Survey 
both of Gwent and Archenfield. 

Its importance is shown by the fact that in the import- 
Gwentian Code a separate section was devoted to honey. 
' The Law of Bees.' It begins as follows : — ' The 
origin of bees is from Paradise, and on account of 
the sin of man they came from thence, and they were 
blessed by God, and, therefore, the mass cannot be 
without the wax.' ^ 

The price of a swarm of bees in August was equal 
to the price of an ox ready for the yoke, i.e. ten or 
fifteen times its present value, in proportion to the ox. 

Honey had, in fact, two uses, besides its being the 

^ Ancient Latest ij^c, p. SCO. 

208 The Tribal System. 

C hap. V I. substitute foF the modem sugar — one for the making 
of mead, which was three times the price of beer ; the 
other for the wax for candles used in the chiefs house- 
hold, and on the altar of the mass.* The lord of a 
taeog had the right of buying up all his honey ;* and in 
North Wales, according to the Venedotian Code, ali 
the honey of the king's aillts or taeogs was reserved for 
the court.' The mead brewer was also an important 
royal officer in all the three divisions of Wales. 

It is not surprising, then, that the tribute of honey, 
which formed so important a part of the Welsh 
gwestva, should be retained as an item in the tribute 
of the trevs of Gwent after their conquest by Harold. 



From the combined evidence of the Domesday 
Survey and the ^Ancient Laws of Wales,' the fact has 
now been learned that in the eleventh century, as it 
had done previously probably for 400 years, the river 
Wye separated by a sharp line the Saxon land, on which 
the manorial land system prevailed, from the Welsh 
land, on which the Welsh tribal land system prevailed. 
On the one side of the river, at the date of the Sur- 
vey, clusters of scattered homesteads of free Welsh- 
men contributed food-rents in the form of gwestva to 
the conqueror of their chief, and taeogs tlieir dawn- 
bwyds. On the other side the villata of geneats 
and geburs, besides paying gafol, performed servile 
week-work upon the demesne lands of the lord of the 

» Ancient Laws, <^c., p. 826. « Id, p. 213. » Id, p. 92 (s. 6). 

Early Welsh Evidence. 209 

village or manor. It may be well, however, to seek ^^^^' vi. 
for some earlier evidence of the payment of gwestva 
on the Welsh side of the river. 

Documentary evidence of the manorial system on 
the Saxon side was forthcoming as early as the 
seventh century, in the laws of King Ine. How far 
back can documentary evidence be traced of the 
Welsh system ? 

In the possession of the church of Llandaff there The Book 
was long preserved an ancient MS. of the Gospels in ch^Mof 
Latin, caUed the Book of St. Chad.^ Thi . MS. '^l^"^ 
appears to date back to the eighth century. And it ?^^*^° 
was for long the custom to enter on its margin a 
record of solemn compacts sworn upon it, as in the 
similar case of the Book of Deer. It thus happens to 
contain {inter alia) two short records of grants to the 
church of St. Teilo (or Llandaflf). One of these gifts 
is as follows : * — 

' This writing showeth that Eis and the family of 

* Grethi gave to God and St. Teilo, Treh guidauc. . . . 

* and this is its census : 40 loaves and a wether sheep 

* in summer ; and in winter, 40 loaves, a hog, and 40 

* dishes of butter. . . .' 

Another is in these words : — 

' This writing showeth that Eis and Hirv .... 

* gave Bracma as far as Hirmain Guidauc^ from the 

* desert of Gelli Lrlath as far as Camdubr, its " hichet " 
' [food-rent ?], 3 score loaves and a wether sheep, 

* lAber Landavensis, p. 271, 
App., and p> 615. 

' For the translation see p. 616. 
For the orig^inal, p. 272, as follows : 
' Ostendit ista scriptio quod de- 
derunt Ris et luith Grethi Treb 

guidauc i malitiduck Cimaiguich, 
et hie est census ejus, douceint 
torth hamaharuin in irham, hadu- 
ceint torth in irgaem, ha huch, ha 
douceint mannudenn deo et sancto 

• • 

210 The Tribal System. 

^^' ^ ^' ' and a vessel of butter. And then follow the wit- 

' nesses/ ' 
Eridantiy Bhys ap Ithael, the donor in these two cases, was 
t^^^ king of the district of Glewyssig in the middle of the 
ninth century, about the time of Alfred the Great. 
Now, a king or chief would hardly be likely to transfer 
to the church of Uandaff a free trev and the gwestva 
paid therefrom. This would have involved the sever- 
ance of free members of the tribe from the tribe, to put 
them under an ecclesiastical lordship. We should ex- 
pect then to find that the Trev * Guidauc ' was a taeog- 
trev on the chiefs own land, and according to the 
description given in the grants, the census corresponds 
not with the gwestva of a free trev under the Welsh 
laws, but with the ' dawn-bwyd ' of the taeog-trev. 

The food tribute in these grants was divided into 
summer and winter payments, and so, as we have seen, 
were the dawn-bwyds of the taeogs in the Welsh laws ; 
the scores of loaves, the sow, the wether sheep, and 
the tubs of butter, correspond also with the food-gifts 
from the taeog-trevs, as described in the laws, though 
with varying quantities.* 

These grants in the margin of the Book of St. 

Chad may, therefore be taken as evidence that the 

system of food -rents was prevalent in Wales in the 

middle of the ninth century. 

Snpritai There is still earlier evidence of the prevalence 

emtoms in of the System of food-rents where we should little 

^""^ expect to find it, viz., in the laws of King Lie. Ine 

being Bang of Wessex, and Wessex shading ofi* as it 

* For the tnmslation see p. 617 ; 
for the original, p. 272. 

* See Leges WaUice^ ii. 14, 

' De DaufUnpyt ' [Dono Cibi]. An* 
dent Laws, 4^-9 ^f Wales, p. 790. 

Early Welsh Evidence. 


were into the old British districts both south and east ^^^^' ^^ 
of the Severn, it was but natural that some old Welsh 
or British customs should have survived in certain 
places ; as Walisc men here and there survived 
amongst the conquering English. These Welshmen 
were allowed under Ine's laws to hold half-hides and 
hides of land. We have only to examine the Domesday 
Survey for Gloucestershire and Herefordshire to find 
traces even at that date of survivals of Welsh and 
Saxon customs in exceptional cases, even outside 
those districts which had only just been conquered. 

In some places where Saxon customs had long 
prevailed a little community of Welshmen remained 
under Welsh customs. In other places the customs 
were partly Welsh and partly English.* 

1 FoL 162 h, ' In Cirmcuter 
liundred King Edward had five 
liides of land. In demesne t. 
ploughs and xxxi. yillani with z. 
ploughs, xiii. servi and z. bordarii, 
&c. The Queen has the wool of the 
sheep. T. R. R : this manor ren- 
dered iii.^ modii of com, and of 
barley iii. modii, and of honey vi.} 
eeztars, and iz.^ and t.«., and 3,000 
loaves for dogs.' 

Thu, i« very much like a sur- 
vival of the Welsh food-rents at 
one of the cities conquered by the 
Sazons in 577. 

In some other places out of 
Archenfield there was a mizture of 
Welsh and English customs. 

The manor oiWestwode (f. 181) 
was held by St. Peter of Glouces- 
ter. It contained vi. hides, 'one 
of which had Welsh custom, the 
others Enprlish/ A Welshman in 

this manor had half a carucate, and 
rendered i. aeztar of honey. 

And at Owe (f. 179 &), 8 Welsh- 
men had 8 teams, and rendered z.^ 
seztars of honey and vi.<. v.c?., and 
in the forest of the king was land 
of this noAnor, which T. R. R had 
rendered vL seztars of honey, and 
vi. sheep witl> lambs. 

These instances are sufficient to 
show that in Herefordshire, as in 
Gloucestershire, in the newly con- 
quered districts, the old Welsh dues 
of honey, sheep, &c., remained un- 
disturbed; while in the districts 
which had long been under Saxon 
rule, in some few cases there was a 
mixture of services, and in others 
the Sazon services of ploughing on 
the lord's demesne had become 

It may be assumed that when 
the services were thus described 

p 2 


The Inbal System. 

^^ g^' ^ ' In precisely the same way survivals such as these 
Food-rents must have existed in King Ine's time. There must 
in the laws have been then, as 400 years afterwards, at the date 
Se^venth ^^ ^^^ Survey, places in Wessex where Welshmen pre- 
centorj. dominated and Welsh customs survived. There must 
have been, in other words, manors which paid Welsh 
gwestva instead of Saxon services. There is a remark- 
able passage in King Ine's laws which can only be 
thus explained. On the same page, and in the next 
paragraph but two to the law about the yard-land 
set to * gafol ' and to ' weorc^' ^ there is a clause appa- 
rently out of place, which begins abruptly with this 
heading : * ^t x. hidum ro poprpe.' * In the Latin 
version this is rendered * De x. hides ad corredium.* ^ 
Now, there is a passage in a charter of Louis VIL. of 
France, anno 1157, given by Du Cange under the 
word ' Corredium^ in which certain * villas ' are 
freed from the exaction of * qusedam convivia, quae 
vulgo Coreede vel Giste vocantur.* This definition 
of corredium and of * giste,' as a contribution of 
food exacted from tenants, corresponds exactly to the 
Welsh 'gwestva.' And the Saxon word fostre also 
means food. So that this heading to the passage in 
question may be translated — * from x. hides paying 
gwestva.' And so interpreted the following list be- 

contrary to the uBual routine of the 
Domesday surveyors, it was because 
there was something unusual about 
them ; and that in the majority of 
instances where Saxon customs pre- 
vailed, no description was deemed 
needfiil. Compare the Domesday 
survey of Dorsetshire — a portion 
of the * West Wales * — ^where the 

manors in the royal demesne are 
grouped so that each group renders 
a ' firma unius noctis/ or a ' firma 
dimidi» noctb.' 

* Lawi of Ine, No. 67. Thorpe, 
p. 63. 

* Id. No. 70. Thorpe, p. 68. 
» Jrf. p.604. 

Early Welsh Evidence. 213 

comes perfectly intelligible, for it describes what the Chap. vl 
gwestva consisted of. 

From 10 h%d»-^ 
X. dolia of honey, 
ccc. loayea. 

xiL amphora of Welsh ale. 
zzx. of dear [do.] 
IL oxen or x. wetJiers. 
X. geese. 
XX. hens. 
X. cheeses. 

A fall amphora of bntter. 
T. salmons of xx. pounds weight. 
c. eels. 

Now, if the system of gwestva payment or food-rent 
described in this passage of the laws of King Lie be 
evidence of the survival of the Welsh custom after 
the Saxon conquest, it is at the same time equally 
clear documentary evidence of the seventh century 
that the system of gwestva or food-rents was prevalent 
outside Wales in the west of Britain before die Saxon 

^ For much curious information I tenures, see Taylor's History of 
respecting the Welsh system of I Oavel-kintL London. 166d. 


THE TRIBAL SYSTEM {continued). 


Chap.vh. The Welsh evidence brings us back to a period 
parallel with the Saxon era marking the date of King 
Ine's laws. The Welsh land system was then clearly 
distinguished from the Saxon by the absence of the 
manor with its village community in serfdom, and by 
the presence instead of it of the scattered homesteads 
{tyddyns) of the tribesmen and taeogs, grouped to- 
gether for the purpose of the payment to the chief of 
the food-rents, or their money equivalents. 

Further light may possibly be obtained from obser- 
vation of the tribal system in a still earlier economic 
stage, though at a much later date, in Ireland. 

Now, first — without going out of our depth as we 
might easily do in the Irish evidence — it may readily 
be shown, sufficiently for the present purpose, that 
the system of land divisions, or rather of the group- 
ing of homesteads into artificial clusters with arith- 
metical precision, was prevalent in Ireland outside 
the Pale as late as the times of Queen Elizabeth and 

Irish Luid 





The Irish Evidence. 


James I., when an effort was made to substitute 
English for Irish customs and laws. 

There are extant several surveys of parts of Ire- 
land of that date in which are to be recognised 
arrangements of homesteads almost precisely similar 
to those of the Welsh Codes. And further, the 
names of the tenants being given, we can see that 
they were blood relations like the Welsh tribesmen, 
with a carefully preserved genealogy guarding the 
fact of their relationship and consequent position in 
the tribe. 

The best way to realise this fact may be to turn 
to actual examples. 

According to an inquisition ^ made of the county of 
Fermanagh in 1 James I. (1603), the county was 
found to be divided into seven equal baronies, the 
description of one of which may be taken as a 

* The temporal land within this barony is all equallj divided into doflten of 
7 J hdlyhetagha [literally victuallen' towns/ or units for purposes of the ^^®J 
food-rents like the Welsh tr€v»\ each containing 4 quarters, each of ^5^*^^' 
those quarters containing 4 tathes [corresponding with the Welsh 
tyddyni\, and each of those tathes aforesaid to be 80 acres country 

Of ' «;m-»(iia/ lands ' there are two parish churches, one having 4 quar- 
ters, the other 1 quarter. 

Also there are ' other small freedoms containing small parcels of land, 
some belonging to the spiritualty, and others being part of the mental 
lands allotted to Macgwire (the chief).' 

This exactly corresponds with the arrangement 
for the purposes of the gwestva of the Welsh tyddyns 
in groups of 4 and 16, as in the Venedotian Code. 

^ Inquisitiones Cancellaria Sp- 
berma^ ii. xzx. iiL 

* Proceedings of the Royal Irish 

Academy, viL p. xiv., p. 474. Paper 
by the Bev. W. Beeves, D.D. 


The Tribal System. 

Chap. VII. 

in Cow 

There is also a Survey of County Moiiaghan in 
33 Elizabeth ^ (1591), in which the names of the 
holders of the tates in each bailebiataghj or group of 
16, are given. Thus, again, to take a single 
example, — 

BaUeclonanffre, a ballibeatach contaiDing xvL totes. 

To Breine McCabe Fits Alexander *. 5 tates. 
„ Edxnond McOabe Fits Alexander 1 tate. 

ff Oormocke McOabe .... 2 tates. 
„ Breine Eiagh McCabe . • . 2 ,, 
ff Edmond boy, McOabe . • .1 tate. 
„ Hosse McOabe McMelaghen • • 1 
„ Gilpatric McCowla McOabe 
„ Toole McAlexander McOabe 
ff James McTirlogh McOabe 
,1 Arte McMelagblin Dale McMahon 





A fresh survey of the same district was made by 
Sir John Davies in 1607 ;* the record for this same 
bailebiatagh is as follows : — 

(I. Lissenarte. 
2. Oremojle. 
3. Sharaghanadan. 
4. Nealoste. 
5. Tirehannelj. 

Patrick M'Edmond M'Oabe Fitz- Alexander, in| ^ Ourleiirhe. 
demesne, 1 tate ) ' 

Oormock M'Oabe, in demesne, 2 tates • . | ' 

7. Aghenelogh. 

Rosse M'Arte Moyle, in demesne, 2 tates . . f ^- Benage. 


James M'Edmond boy MHHabe, in demesne, 1 1 . _ .. , . 
tate • . I lollagneisce. 

Oolloe M'Art Oge M'Mahowne, in demesne, 1 1 ^^ Dromegeiyne. 

* Inguiwtiones Cancellariae Sp- I • Calendar of State PaperSj Ire- 
bemi€Bt ii. p. xxL ' landf 1606-8, p. 170. 

The Irish Evidence. 217 

Patrick M'Art Oge M'Mahowne, in regard there \ Ckap. YII. 

IB good hope of his honest deserts, and that!-. o r% ^^ "^"""^ 

the first patentee disclaimeth, in demesne, 1 1 
tate j 

Toole MToole M' Alexander M'Cahe, in demesne, ),.,,, , 
Itate . .|14. Turrgher. 

James M'l^rleogh M'Gabe, in demesne, 1 tate • 16. 

Brian M'Art Oge M'Mahowne, in demesne,!),^ 
tate J 

Now, by comparison it will be seen that at both The tribe*, 
dates there were sixteen tates in the bailebiatagh, and Jdations. 
that the holders were evidently blood relations. In 
some cases the name of a son takes the place of his 
father (the genealogy being kept up), and in others 
new tenants appear. 

There is also reason to suppose that these tates The ^^m 
were family homesteads (like the tyddyns of the hoiings. 
Welsh ' family land *), with smaller internal divisions, 
and embracing a considerable number of lesser house- 
holds. The fact that one person only is named as 
holding the tate, or the two tates, as the case may 
be, suggests that he is so named as the common an- 
cestor or head of the chief household representing all 
the belongings to the tate. Within the tate the sub- 
division of land seems to have been carried to an 
indefinite extent. The following extract from Sir 
John Davies' report will probably give the best 
account of the actual and, to his eye, somewhat con- 
fused condition of things within the tates, as he found 
them. It relates to the county of Fermanagh, and is 
in the form of a letter to the Earl of SaUsbury, dated 


^ Appended to Sir John Davies* Diicovery of Ireland, in some of the 
-early editions. 


The Tribal System. 

Chap, vil among the inferior septs which had swarmed off it. 
And a sort of feudal relation prevailed between the 
parent and the inferior septs. 

There can probably, on the whole, be no more 
correct view of the Irish tribal system in its essence 
and spirit than the simple generalisation made by 
Sir John Da vies himself, from the various and, in 
some sense, inconsistent and entangled facts which 
bewildered him in detail.^ 

Eirst, as regards the chiefs, whether of tribes or 
septs, and their demesne lands, he writes : * — 

' 1. By the Irish custom of t&nistry the chieftains of every country 
and the chief of every sept had no longer estate than for life in their 
chieferies, the inheritance whereof did rest in no man. And these 
chieferiesy though they had some portions of land allotted unto them^ did 
consist chiefly in cuttings and coscheries and other Irish exactions, 
wherehy they did spoil and impoverish the people at their pleasure. And 
when their chieftains were dead their sons or next heirs did not succeed 
them, but their taniits, who were elective, and purchased their electionB 
by show of hands.' 

Next, as to tribesmen and their inferior tenan- 

and the 

Division of 


' 2. And by the Irish custom of gavelkind the inferior tenancies were 
partible amongst all the males of the sept *, and after partition made, if 
any one of the sept had died bis portion was not divided among his sons, 
hvtt the chief of the sept made a new partition of all the lands belonging 
to that sept, and gave every one his part according to hie antiquity.' 

The These two Irish customs (Sir John Davies con- 

Md'^Su^- tinues) made all their possessions uncertain, being 
^^^^ shuffled and changed and removed so often from one 
^rtribu- to another, by new elections and partitions, * which 
uncertainty of estates hath been the true cause of 
desolation and barbarism in this land.' 

^ The evidence by which he 
was gradually informed may be 
traced in detail in the above-men- 

tioned Calendars. 

' Sir John Davies' Discovery 
of Irdand, 1612, pp. 167 et seq. 

The Irish Evidence. 


These were obviously the main features of an Chap.vii. 
earlier stage of the tribal system than we have seen 
in Wales. It was the system which fitted easily into 
the artificial land divisions and clusters of home- 
steads. And this method of clustering homesteads, 
in its turn, not only facilitated, but even made possible 
those frequent redistributions which mark this early 
stage of the tribal system. 

The method of artificial clustering was apparently 
widely spread through Ireland, as we found it in the 
various divisions of Wales. 

It also was ancient; for according to an early Th68y«t©m 
poem, supposed by Dr. Sullivan ^ to belong * in sub- *°*^®'*' 
stance though not in language to the sixth or seventh 
century,* Ireland was anciently divided into 184 
' Tricha C^ds ' (30 hundreds [of cows]), each of which 
contained 30 bailes (or townlands) ; 5,520 hailes in 

The baile or townland is thus described : — 

* A baile sustains 300 cows, 
Four full herds therein may roam. 

The poem describes the bailes (or townlands) as and pas- 
divided into 4 quarters, i.e^ a quarter for each of the 
4 herds of 75 cows each. 

The poem further explains that the baik or town- saiiys and 
land was equal to 12 * seisrighs ' (by some translated ^'**'^*®''* 
' plough-lands '), and that the latter land measure is 120 
acres,^ making the quarter equal to three ' seisrighs ' 

^ Manneri and Customs of the 
Ancient Irish, E. O'Curry. Dr. 
Sullivan's Introduction, p. xcvi. 
See also Skene's Celtic Scotland, 

iii. 154. 

' Skene, iii. 1(!»5. Sullivan, 
p. zciL 

222 The Tribal System. 

Chap.vil or 360 acres. But this latter mode of measurement 
" is probably a later innovation introduced with the 

growth of arable farms. The old system was division 
into quarters, and founded on the prevalent pastoral 
habits of the people. In the earliest records Con- 
naught is found to be divided into baUys^ and the 
ballys into quarters^ which were generally distinguished 
by certain mears and bounds.^ The quarters were 
sometimes called ^cartrona^ but in other cases the 
cartron was the quarter of a quarter, i.e. a ' tate.* 
Kelly's county in 1589 was found to contain 665^ 
quarters of 120 acres each.' 

Lastly, it may be mentioned that in the re-allot- 
ment of the lands in Boscommon to the sept of the 
Grames on their removal from Cumberland each family 
of the better class was to receive a quarter of land 
containing 120 acres.' 
TheBjrtem The evidence as regards Scotland is scanty, but 
m Scotland j^ Skene, in his interesting chapter on ' the tribe in 
' Scotland,' has collected together sufficient evidence to 
show that the tribal organisation in the Gaelic dis- 
tricts was closely analogous to that in Ireland.* 
and in the There are also indications that the Isle of Man was 
MiSu anciently divided into ballys and quarters.* 

^ Skene, iii. 158, qaoting a tract 
published in the appendix to Tribei 
and Cuslotns of Hy Fiachndch, p. 

« Id, p. 160, quoting the Tribes 
and Cuttanu of Hy Many. 

* Calendars of State Papers, Ire- 
land, 1006-8, pp. 491-2. 

' Skene's Celtic Scotland, iiL c. 


^ In a poem of the sixteenth 

century (1507-22), in Manks, given 
in Tndn*s Isle of Man, i. p. 50, 
occur the lines — 

' Ayns dagh treen Bailey ren eh 
D'an sleih shen ayn dy heet dy 

alluding to St. Germain; tran^ 
lated thus by Mr. Train : — 

The Irish Evidence. 


The old tribal division of the bally s into * quar- Gkap.vil 
ters * and ' tates ' has left distinct and numerous traces 
in the names of the present townlands in Ireland. 

Annexed is an example of an ancient bally divided 
into quarters. It is taken from the Ordnance Survey 
of county Galway. Two of the quarters, now town- 
lands, still bear the names of ' Cartron ' and * Carrow,' 
or 'Quarter,' as do more than 600 townlands in 
various parts of Ireland.^ This example will show 
that the quarters were actual divisions. 

Scattered over the bally were the sixteen * tates * 
or homesteads, four in each quarter ; and in some 
counties — ^Monaghan especially — they are still to be 
traced as the centres of modern townlands, which bear 
the names borne by the * tates ' three hundred years 
ago, as registered in Sir John Davies' survey. There 
is still often to be found in the centre of the modem 
townland the circular and partly fortified enclosure * 
where the old ' tate ' stood, and the lines of the pre- 
sent divisions of the fields often wind themselves 
round it in a way which proves that it was once their 
natural centre. 

Moreover, the names of the ' tates ' still preserved 
in the present townlands bear indirect witness to the 

' For each four quarterlands be 

made a chapel 
For people of them to meet in 

For the ' quarterlands ' see Statute 
of the Tinwald Court, 1645. Also 
Feltham's Tour, Majix Society, p. 
il, &c. 

' That in many cases the quar- 

ters had become townlands as early 
as the year 1683, see Tribes and 
Custotne ofHy Many, Introd. p. 464. 
See also Br. Reeve's paper ' On the 
Townland Distribution of Ireland,' 
Proceedings of the Royal Irish 
Acadetny, 1861, vol. yii. p. 483. 

^ Many thousands of these cir- 
cular enclosures are marked on the 
(Jrdnance Map of Ireland. 


The Tribal System. 

^ ^^•^ ^ reality of the old tribal redistributions and shiftings 
of the households from one * tate ' to another. They 
seldom are compounded of personal names. They 
generally are taken from some local natural feature. 
The homestead was permanent. The occupants were 

Again, an example taken from the Ordnance Sur- 
vey — from county Monaghan — will most clearly illus- 
trate these points, and help the reader to appreciate 
the reality of the tribal arrangements. 

In the survey of the barony of * Monoughan * * 
made in 1607, the * half ballibetogh called Correskallie ' 
is described as containing eight 'tates,' the Irish 
names of which are recorded. They are given below, 
and an Enghsh translation of the names is added* in 
brackets to illustrate their pecuhar and generally 
uon-personal character. 

In the half ballibetogh called Correskallie (Round Ilill of the Story- 
tellers) — 

{Oorneekelfee (P Oorreskallie). 
Correvolen (Round ffill of the Mill). 
Corredull (Round Hill at the Bhick Fort). 
Aghelick (Field of the Badger). 
( Dromore (the Great Ridge). 
1 Killaghamane (Wood of the Heap), 
4 tates < jTed^j^e (Black Wood). 

I Clonelolane (Lonan^s Meadow). 

A reduced map of this ancient * half-ballibetogh/ 
as it appears now on the large Ordnance Survey, is 
appended, in which the names of the old * tates ' 
appear, with but little change, in the modern town- 
lands. The remains of the circular enclosures mark- 

* Calendars of State Papers, 
Ireland, 1007, p. 170. 

» Taken from Shirley's Hist of 
Monatjhan, j)art iv. pp. 480-482. 






-*' ■* .^- 

. ,rf^: 

:■- ■>■ 



The Irish Evidence. 


ing the sites of the old * tates' are still to be traced Chap.vii. 
in one or two cases. The acreage of each townland 
is given on the map in English measures. It will be 
remembered that in Monaghan 60 Irish acres were 
allotted to each tate instead of the usual 30. 

This evidence will be sufficient to prove that the 
arithmetical clustering of the homesteads was real, and 
that, as in Wales, so in Ireland, under the tribal sys- 
tem the homesteads were scattered over the country, 
and not grouped together in villages and towns.^ 

Passing to the methods of agriculture, it is obvious, 
that, even in a pastoral state, the growth of corn 
cannot be wholly neglected. We have seen that in 
Wales there was agriculture, and that, so far as it ex- 
tended, the ploughing was conducted on an open- 
field system, and by joint-ploughing. 

It was precisely so also in Ireland, and it had been 
from time immemorial. 

It is stated in the * Book of the Dun Cow ' {Lebor Oponfldd*. 
na IIuidre)j compiled in the seventh century by the 
Abbot of Clanmacnois, known to us in an Irish MS. of 
the year 1100, that* there was not a ditch, nor fence, 

* nor fltone wall round land till came the period of the 

* sons of Aed Slane [in the seventh century], but only 

* smooth fields.' Add to this the passage pointed out 
by Sir H. S. Maine* in the * Liber Hymnorum ' (a MS. 
probably of the eleventh century), viz. — 

* ' Neither did auv of them in 
aU this time plant any gardens or 
orchards, enclose or improve their 
lands, live together in settled vil- 
lages or towns.' — Discovery of Ire- 
landf p. 170. Compare this with 
the description of the Germans 
by Tacitus. It was, as Sir John 

Davies remarks, a condition of 
things ' to be imputed to those 
[tribal] customs which made their 
estates so uncertain and transitory 
in their possessions ' (id.). 

' Early Histoiy of Instilittions. 
p. 113. 



The Tribal System. 

Chap. VII. 

The run- 
rig or 
system in 
and Scot- 

' Very numerous were the inhabitants of Ireland at this time [the 
time of the sons of Aed Slane in the seventh century], and their number 
was no great that they only received in the partition d loU of ritiges 
[immaire] of land, namely 9 ridges of bog land, 9 of forest, and 9 of 
arable land.* 

Taking these two passages together, and noting 
that the word for ' ridges ' {immaire) is the same word 
{imire^ or iomair ^) now used in Gaelic for a ridge of 
land, and that the recently remaining system of strips 
and balks in Ireland and Scotland is still known as 
the * run- rig ' system, it becomes clear that whatever 
there was of arable land in any particular year lay in 
open fields divided into ridges or strips. 

There are, further, some passages in the Brehon 
Lares which show that at least among the lower 
grades of tribesmen there was joint-ploughing. And 
this arose not simply from * joint-tenancy ' of un- 
divided land by co-heirs,* but from the fact that the 
tribesmen of lower rank only possessed portions of 
the requisites of a plough,® just as was the case with 
Welsh tribesmen and the Saxon holders of yard-lands. 

There can be httle doubt, therefore, that we must 
picture the households of tribesmen occupying the 
four ' tates ' in each * quarter ' as often combining 
to produce the plough team, and as engaged to some 
extent in joint-ploughing. 

* Skene's Celtic Scotland, iii. p. 

* As to joint-tenancy between 
co-heirs, see tract called ' Judg- 
ments of Co-tenancy.' Brelion 
Laws, iv. pp. 00 et seq, 

' See the tract ' Crith Gablach.' 
Brehon Laivs, iv. pp. 300 et aeq. 
One grade has * a fourth part of a 
ploughing apparatus, i.e. an oz, a 
plough-straw, a goad, and a bridle ' 

(p. 307) ; another ' half the means 
of ploughing ' (p. 309) ; another * a 
perfect plough * (p. 311) ; and so on. 
And the size of their respective 
houses and the amount of their food- 
rent is graduated also according to 
their rank in the tribal hierarchy. 
There is a reference to ' tillage in 
common * in the * Senchus Mor.' 
Brehon Laivs, iii. p. 17. 

The Irish Evidence. 


At first, what little agriculture was needful would Chap, vil 
be, like the Welsh * coaration of the waste,' the joint- 
ploughing of grass land, which after the year's crop, 
or perhaps three or four years' crop, would go back 
into grass.^ But it would seem from the passage 
quoted above, that the whole quarter of normally 
120 Irish acres was at first divided into * ridges' — 
possibly Irish acres — to facilitate the allotment 
among the households not only of that portion which 
was arable for the year, but also of the shares in the 
bog and the forest. No doubt originally there was 
plenty of mountain pasture besides the thirty, or 
sometimes sixty scattered acres or ridges allotted in 

* The following appeared in the 
AfheMBwm, March 3, 1888, under 
the signature of Mr. G. L. Gomme : 
— ' The 812 acres in possession of 
the Oorporation of Kella (co. Meath) 
are divided into six fields, and thus 
used. The fields are broken up in 
rotation one at a time, and tilled 
during four years. Before the field 
is broken the members of the Cor- 
poration repair to it with a sur- 
veyor, and it is marked out into 
equal lots, according to the existing 
number of resident members of the 
body. Each resident freeman gets 
one lot, each portreeve and bur- 
gess two lots, and the deputy sove- 
reign five lots. A portion of the 
field, generally five or six acres, is 
set apart for letting, and the rent 
obtained for it is applied to pay the 
tithes and taxes of the entire. The 
members hold their lots in severalty 
for four years and cultivate them as 
they please, and at the expiration 

of the fourth year the field is laid 
down with grass and a new one is 
broken, when a similar process of 
partition takes place. The other 
five fields are in the interim in pas- 
ture, and the right of depasturing 
them is enjoyed by the members of 
the Corporation in the same pro- 
portion as they hold the arable 
land; that is to say, the deputy 
sovereign grasses five heads of 
cattle (called "bolls'^ for every 
two grazed by the portreeves and 
burgesses, and for every one grazed 
by the freemen ; with this modifi- 
cation, however, that the widow of 
a burgess enjoys a right of grazing 
to the same extent as a freeman, 
and the widow of a freeman to half 
that extent The widows do not 
obtain any portions of the field in 
tillage. I should note that the first 
charter of incorporation to Kella 
dates from Richu^ L' 


228 The Tribal System. 

Chap. viL * run -rig ' to each 'tate' or household. In the 
seventh century, as we have seen, the complaint was 
made that the pressure of population had reduced 
the shares to twenty-seven ridges instead of thirty. 

Finally, when we examine in the Highlands of 
Scotland as well as in Ireland the still remaining 
custom known as the ' Rundale ' or ' run-rig ' system, 
whereby a whole townland or smaller area is held 
in common by the people of the village, and shared 
among them in rough equality by dividing it up into 
a large number of small pieces, of which each holder 
takes one here and another there ; we see before us 
in Scotland as in Ireland a survival of that custom of 
scattered ownership which^ belonged to the open-field 
system all the world over ; whilst we mark again the 
absence of the yard-land, which was so constant a 
feature of the English system. The method is even 
applied to potato ground, where the spade takes the 
place of the plough ; and thus instead of the strip, or 
acre laid out for ploughing, there is the 'patch' 
which so often marks the untidy Celtic townland. 

Existing maps of townlands, whilst showing very 
clearly the practice still in vogue of subdividing a 
holding by giving to each sharer a strip in each of 
the scattered parcels of which the old holding con- 
sisted, hardly retain traces of the ancient division of 
the whole ' quarter ' into equal ridges or acres. But 
they show very clearly the scattered ownership which 
has been so tenaciously adhered to, along with the old 
tribal practice of equal division among male heirs. 
An example of a modern townland is annexed, which 
wUl illustrate these interesting points. The confusion 
it presents will also illustrate the inlierent incompati- 

The Irish Evidence. 


bility in a settled district of equal division among Chaf.vil 
heirs with anything like the yard-land, or bundle of """" 
equal strips handed down unchanged from generation 
to generation. 

Mr. Skene, in his interesting chapter on the * Land 
Tenure in the Highlands and Islands,' ^ has brought 
together many interesting facts, and has drawn a 
vivid picture of local survivals of farming communi- 
ties pursuing their agriculture on the run-rig system, 
and holding their pasture land in common. And the 
traveller on the west coast of Scotland cannot fail to 
find among the crofters many examples of modified 
forms of joint occupation in which the methods of the 
run-rig system are more or less applied even to newly 
leased land at the present time. 

Thus wliilst the tribal system seems to be the 
result mainly of the long-continued habits of a pas- 
toral people, it could and did adapt itself to arable 
agriculture, and it did so on the hues of the open 
field system in a very simple form, extemporised 
wherever occasion required, becoming permanent 
when the tribe became settled on a particular territory. 

Eeturning now to the main object of the inquiry The Irish 
we seem, in the perhaps to some extent superficial and lyBtem in 
too simple view taken by Sir John Davies of the Irish .^^^ 
tribal arrangements, to have found what we sought — ^® WeUu 
to have got a glimpse in the sixteenth and seventeenth 
centuries of an earlier stage in the working of the 
tribal system than we get in Wales nearly 1,000 
yelirs earlier. In this stage the land in theory was still 
in tribal ownership, its redistribution among the tribes- 

^ Cdtic Scotland, iii. c. z. See 
also ' Account of Improyements on 

iheEaUild of Sutherland.^ ByJamet 
Loch. London, 1826. 

230 The Tribal System. 

OHiLF.viL men was still frequent, and arable agriculture was 
still subordinate to pasture. Lastly, the arithmetical 
clustering of the homesteads was the natural method 
by which the frequent redistributions of the land 
were made easy ; while the run-rig form of the open- 
field system was the natural mode of conducting a 
co-operative and shifting agriculture. 

But whilst gaining this step, and resting upon it 
for our present purpose, we must not be blind to the 
fact that in another way the Irish system had become 
more developed and more complex tlian the Welsh. 

Sir John Davies sometimes dwells upon the fact 
that the chief was in no true sense the lord of the 
county, and the tribesmen in no true sense the free- 
holders of the land. The land belonged to the tribe. 
But, as we have seen, he found also that, as in Wales, 
the chiefs and sub-chiefs had, as a matter of fact,^ 
rightly or wrongly, gradually acquired a permanent 
occupation of a certain portion of land — so many 
townlands — ^which, using the English manorial phrase, 
he speaks of as * in demesne' Upon these the chief's 
immediate followers, and probably bondservants, 
lived, like the Welsh taeogs, paying him food-rents 
or tribute very much resembling those of the taeogs. 
Thaeom- This land, as we have seen, he calls * mensal land* 

§e!^b!^ probably translating an Irish term ; and we are re- 
^Bnhon naiiided at once of the Welsh taeog-land in the Regis- 
^^^ ter trevsy which also, from the gifts of food, was called 
in one of the Welsh laws ' mensal lufid.' 

Further, besides these innovations upon the 
ancient simplicity of the tribal system, there had 
evidently, and perhaps from early times, grown up 
artificial relatioilships, founded upon contract, or even 

The Irish Evidence. 231 

fiction, which, so to speak, ran across and complicated Ohap. vn. 
very greatly the tribal arrangements resting upon 
blood relationship. This probably is what makes the 
Brehon laws so bewildering and apparently inconsist- 
ent with the simphcity of the tribal system as in its 
main features it presented itself to Sir John Davies. 

The loan of cattle by those tribesmen (Boaires) 
who had more than enough to stock their proper share 
of the tribe land to other tribesmen who had not cattle 
enough to stock theirs, in itself introduced a sort of 
semi-feudal, or perhaps semi-commercial dependence 
of one tribesman upon another. Tribal equality, or 
rather gradation of rank according to blood relation- 
ship, thus became no doubt overlaid or crossed by an 
actual inequality, which earlier or later developed in 
some sense into an irregular form of lordship and 
service. Hence the complicated rules of * Saer * and 
* Vaer ' tenancy. There were perhaps also artificial 
modes of introducing new tribesmen into a sept with- 
out the blood relationship on which the tribal system 
was originally built. These compUcations may be 
studied in the Brehon laws, as they have been studied 
by Sir Henry Maine and Mr. Skene, and the learned 
editors of the * Laws ' themselves ; but, however 
ancient may be the state of things which they de- 
scribe, they need not .detain us here, or prevent our 
recognising in the actual conditions described by Sir 
John Davies the main features of an earlier stage of 
the system than is described in the ancient Welsh laws. 


The comparison of the Gaelic and Cymric tribal 
systems has shown resemblances so close in leading 

232 The Tribal System. 

Chap. vu. principles, that we may safely seek to obtain from 
some of the differences between them a glimpse into 
earlier stages of the tribal system than the Welsh 
evidence, taken alone, would have opened to our view. 
Outside in- Two poweiful influences had evidently already 
Rome, ' partially arrested the tribal system in Wales, and 
ityr«nd° turned it as it were against its natural bent into fixed 
^stiSi*^ and hardened grooves, before it assumed the shape in 
Bjrtem. which it appears in the Welsh laws. These two 
powerful influences were (1) Roman rule and (2) 
Christianity. Their first action was to some extent 
exercised singly and apart, though concurrently in 
point of time. But their separate influences were 
aftierwards surpassed and consolidated by the remark- 
able combination of them both which was presented 
in the ecclesiastical system. 

The influences of Christianity, and of the later 
ecclesiastical system, were powerfully exerted in 
Ireland also ; but the Irish tribal system differed 
from the Welsh in its never having passed directly 
under Boman imperial rule. 

The Brehon laws of Ireland perhaps owe their 
form and origin to the necessity of moulding the old 
traditional customs to the new Christian standard 
of the ecclesiastics, under whose eye the codification 
was made. So, also, the Welsh laws of Howell the 
Good, and the Saxon laws of Ine and his successors, 
all reflect and bear witness to this influence, and had 
been no doubt moulded by it into softer forms 
than had once prevailed. At least the harshest thorns 
which grew, we may guess, even rankly upon the tribal 
system, must, we may be sure, have been already 
removed before our first view of it. 

Its Earlier Stages. 233 

In fact, nearly all the early codes, whether those of Chap. vii. 
Ireland, Wales, or England, or those of German tribes 
on the Continent, bear marks of a Christian influence, 
either directly impressed upon them by ecclesiastical 
authorship and authority, or indirectly through con- 
tact with the Eoman law, which itself in the later 
edicts contained in the Codes of Theodosius and 
Justinian had undergone evident modification in a 
Christian sense. 

So far as the Welsh tribal system is concerned, it 
is quite clear that whatever had been the influence 
upon it of direct Boman imperial rule and early 
Christianity, it submitted to a second and fresh in- 
fluence in the tenth century. 

This appears when we consider the avowed motives 
and object of Howell the Good in making his code. 
Its preface recites that he * found the Cymry per- 
verting the laws and customs, and therefore sum- 
moned from every cymwd of his kingdom six men 
practised in authority and jurisprudence ; and also 
the archbishop, bishops, abbots, and priors, imploring 
grace and discernment for the king to amend the 
laws and customs of Cymru.' It goes on to say that, 
* by the advice of these wise men, the king retained 
some of the old laws, others he amended, others 
he abolished entirely, estabhshing new laws in their 
place;' special pains being taken to guard against 
doing anything * in opposition to the law of the Church 
or the law of the Emperor' ^ 

Finally, it is stated in the same preface that Howell 
the Good went to Kome to confirm his laws by papal 

' ArwieiU Laws, §c, of Wales, p. IC*'^. 

232 The Tribal System. 

Chap. VII. principles, that we may safely seek to obtain from 
some of the differences between them a glimpse into 
earlier stages of the tribal system than the Welsh 
evidence, taken alone, would have opened to our view. 
Outmdein- Two powerful influences had evidently already 
Rome. * partially arrested the tribal system in Wales, and 
{tj!^^ turned it as it were against its natural bent into fixed 
ibatlSi* *^^ hardened grooves, before it assumed the shape in 
§j§tem. which it appears in the Welsh laws. These two 
powerful influences were (1) Eoman rule and (2) 
Christianity. Their first action was to some extent 
exercised singly and apart, though concurrently in 
point of time. But their separate influences were 
afterwards surpassed and consoUdated by the remark- 
able combination of them both which was presented 
in the ecclesiastical system. 

The influences of Christianity, and of the later 
ecclesiastical system, were powerfully exerted in 
Ireland also ; but the Irish tribal system differed 
from the Welsh in its never having passed directly 
under Eoman imperial rule. 

The Brehon laws of Ireland perhaps owe their 
form and origin to the necessity of moulding the old 
traditional customs to the new Christian standard 
of the ecclesiastics, under whose eye the codification 
was made. So, also, the Welsh laws of Howell the 
Good, and the Saxon laws of Ine and his successors, 
all reflect and bear witness to this influence, and had 
been no doubt moulded by it into softer forms 
than had once prevailed. At least the harshest thorns 
which grew, we may guess, even rankly upon the tribal 
system, must, we may be sure, have been already 
removed before our first view of it. 

Its Earlier Stages. 233 

In fact, nearly all the early codes, whether those of Chap. vn. 
Ireland, Wales, or England, or those of German tribes 
on the Continent, bear marks of a Christian influence, 
either directly impressed upon them by ecclesiastical 
authorship and authority, or indirectly through con- 
tact with the Roman law, which itself in the later 
edicts contained in the Codes of Theodosius and 
Justinian had undergone evident modification in a 
Christian sense. 

So far as the Welsh tribal system is concerned, it 
is quite clear that whatever had been the influence 
upoin it of direct Eoman imperial rule and early 
Christianity, it submitted to a second and fresh in- 
fluence in the tenth century. 

This appears when we consider the avowed motives 
and object of Howell the Good in making his code. 
Its preface recites that he * found the Cymry per- 
verting the laws and customs, and therefore sum- 
moned from every cymwd of his kingdom six men 
practised in authority and jurisprudence; and also 
the archbishop, bishops, abbots, and priors, imploring 
grace and discernment for the king to amend the 
laws and customs of Cymru.' It goes on to say that, 
* by the advice of these wise men, the king retained 
some of the old laws, others he amended, others 
he abolished entirely, establishing new laws in their 
place;' special pains being taken to guard against 
doing anything * in opposition to the law of the Church 
or the law of the Emperor.' ^ 

Finally, it is stated in the same preface that Howell 
the Good went to Rome to confirm his laws by papal 

' Ancient Laws, ^c, of Wales, p. 1C5. 


234 The Tribal System. authority, a.d. 914, and died a.d. 940. It may be 
added that the reference to the ' law of the Emperor * 
was no fiction, for ' Blegewrydy Archdeacon of Llandav, 

* was the clerk, and he was a doctor in the law of the 

* Emperor and in the law of the Church/ 

The tribal In conuexiou with this ecclesiastical influence 
a^SSg* there is a curious exception which proves the rule, 
j;^;^" in the refusal of Howell the Good to give up the tribal 
#u!!!li-' ^^^® ^^ equal division among sons, which lay at the 

root of the tribal system, and to introduce in its place 

the law of primogeniture. 

* The ecclesiastical law says that no 0011 is to have the patrimony 
but the eldest born to the father by the married wife: the law of 
Howell, however, adjudges it to the youngest son as well as to theoldest» 
[i.e. all the sons] and decides that sin of the father or his illegal act U 
not to be brought against a son as to his patrimony.' ^ 

And SO tenaciously was this tribal rule adhered to 
that even Edward I., after his conquest of Wales, was 
obliged for the sake of peace to concede its continu • 
ance to the Welsh, insisting only that none but lawful 
sons should share in the inheritance.^ 

The fixing of the gwestva dues, and their commu- 
tation into the tunc pound from every free trev, may 
well have been one of the emendations needful to 
bring the Welsh laws into correspondence with the 

* law of the Emperor,' if it was not indeed the result 
of direct Eoman rule, under which the chiefs paid a 
fixed tributum to the Eoman State, possibly founded 
on the tribal food-rent.' 

* The Venedotian Code, ^n- - Laws, p. 872. 
ciefiU LawSf ^c, p. 86. I ' ^^® pound of 12 ounces of 

^ See the last clause in the I 20 pence used in codes of South 
* StattUa de Rothelan,^ Record of\ Wales seems to have been the 
Carfiari'on, pp. 128-9) and ^ncipn^ l- pound used in Gaul in Roman 

Its Earlier Stages. 


The special Welsh laws which reUeve the free Chap.vil 
trevs of ' family land ' from being under the maer (or Early 
villicus) and canchellor^ and from kylch (or progress), *^*'*'°* 
and from dovrdeth (or having the king's officers quar- ^"s® <>» 
tered upon them), and even limit the right of the the chiefs. 
maer and canchellor to quarter on the taeogs to three 
times a year with three followers, and their share in 
the royal dues from the taeogs to one-third of the 
dawnbwyds^^ look very much like restrictions of old 
and oppressive customs resembUng those prevalent in 
Ireland in later times, made with the intention of 
bringing the tribesmen and even the taeogs within the 
protection of rules similar to those in the Theodosian 
Code protecting the coloni on Eoman estates. 

The probability, therefore, is that the picture 
drawn by Sir John Davies of the lawless exactions 
of the Irish chieftain from the tribesmen of his sept 
would apply also to early Welsh and British chieftains 
before the influence of Christianity and later Roman 
law, through the Church, had restrained their harsh- 
ness, and limited their originally wild and lawless exac- 
tions from the tribesmen. The legends of the Liber 
Landavensis contain stories of as wild and unbridled 
license and cruelty on the part of Welsh chieftains as 
are recorded in the ancient stories of the Irish tribes. 
And Caesar records that the chiefs of GalUc tribes had 
so oppressively exacted their dues (probably food- 
rents), that they had redi^ced the smaller people almost 
into the condition of slaves. 

times. 'Juxta Gallos vigeeima 
pars uncisB denarius est et duode- 
cim denarii solidum reddunt . . . 
duodecim uncise libram xz. solidos 
continentem efficiunt. Sed yeteres 

solidum qui nunc aureus dicltur 
nuncupabunt.* De mensuris &r- 
cerpta, Orotnatici Veteres, Lach- 
mann, i. pp. 373-4. 

* Ancient Laws, (J-c, p. 781. 

236 The Tnbal System. 

Chap. VII. The close resemblance of the Welsh system of 
clustering the homesteads and trevs in groups of four 
and twelve or sixteen, to that prevalent in Ireland, 
points to the common origin of both. It confirms 
the inference that both in Wales and in Ireland this 
curious practice found its raison d'eti^e in a stage of 
tribal life when the families of free tribesmen did not 
as yet always occupy the same tyddyn, but were 
shifted from one to another whenever the dying out 
of a family rendered needful a redistribution to 
ensure the fair and equal division of the tribal lands 
among the tribesmen, ' according to their antiquity ' 
and their rank under the tribal rules. 
Kedivi- This occasioual shifting of tribal occupation within 

•Wfting of the tribe-land was still going on in Ireland under the 
holdings, ^y^g ^£ g^j. John Davies, and it seems to have survived 

the Koman rule in Wales, though it was there pro- 
bably confined within very narrow limits. 

It seems, however, to have been itself a survival 
of the originally more or less nomad habits of pastoral 
Semi- So, also, the frailty of the slightly constructed 

habitfl'* homesteads of the Welsh of the thirteenth century, 
t^^loman ^^^^^ scemed to Giraldus Cambrensis as built only to 
j~i«. last for a year, may be a survival of a state of tribal 
life when the tribes were nomadic, and driven to move 
from place to place by the pressure of warlike neigh- 
bours, or the necessity of seeking new pastures for 
their flocks and lierds. But the nomadic stage of 
Welsh tribal life had probably come to an end 
during the period of Koman rule. 

Putting together the Irish and Welsh evidence in 

Its Earlier Stages. 


a variety of smaller points, a clearer conception may Chap. vii 
perhaps be gained than before of the character and Themdet 
relations to each other of the three or four orders IL-I**^ 


into which tribal life seems to have separated peoples 
— ^the chiefs^ the tribesmen^ the taeogs^ and under all 
these, and classed among chattels, the slaves. 

The chief evidently corresponds less with the later 
lord of a manor than with the modern king. He is 
the head and chosen chief of the tribesmen. His 
office is not hereditary. His successor, his tanist or 
edling, is chosen in his lifetime, and is not necessarily 
his son.^ The chieftains of Ireland are spoken of in 
mediaeval records and laws as reguli — ^little kings. 
When Wales (or such part of it as had not been 
before conquered and made manorial) was conquered 
by Edward I. the chieftainship did not fall into the 
hands of manorial lords, but was vested directly in 
the Prince of Wales.^ 

The tribesmen are men of the tribal blood, i.e. of Thetribeih 
equal blood with the chief. They, therefore, do not 
at all resemble serfs. They are more like manorial 
lords of lordships split up and divided by inheritance, 
than serfs. They are not truly allodial holders, for 
they hold tribal land ; but they have no manorial lord 
over them. Their chief is their elected chief, not their 
manorial lord. When Irish chieftains claim to be 
owners of the tribal land in the English sense, and 
set up manorial claims over the tribesmen, they are 
disallowed by Sir John Davies. When Wales is con- 


' This presents a curious ana- 
logy to the method followed by 
* adoptive ' Roman emperors. 

^ See the surveys in the Record 
of Camarwmj and compare the 
Statute of Rothelan. 


The Tribal System. 


Chap. VII. quered, the tunc pound is paid by the free tribesmen 
direct to the Prince of Wales, the substituted chieftain 
of the tribe, and the tribesmen remain freeholders, 
with no mesne lord between him and them.^ So it 
would have been also in Ireland if the plans of Sir 
John Davies had been permanently carried out.* 

The taeogs are not generally the serfs of the free 
tribesmen, but, if serfs at all, of the chief. They are 
more like Boman cohni than mediaeval serfs. But 
they are easily changed into serfs. In Ireland the 
mensal land on which they live is allowed by Sir 
John Davies to be (by a rough analogy) called the 
chiefs demesne land. In Wales they are called in 
Latin documents villani ; but they become after the 
Conquest the viDani, not of manorial lords, but of 
the Prince of Wales, and they still live in separate 
trevs from the tribesmen.' 

These, then, are the three orders in tribal life ; 
while the slaves in household or field service, and 
more or less numerous, are, like the cattle, bought 
and sold, and reckoned as chattels alike under the 
tribal and the manorial systems. 

And we may go still further. These three tribal 
orders of men, with their large households and cattle 
in the more or less nomadic stage of the tribal system, 
move about from place to place, and wherever they 

The tlaTes. 

' See the surveys in the Record 
iff Carnarvon, The tunc pound in 
some districts of Wales is still col- 
lected for the Prince of Wales. Id, 
Introduction, p. xvii. 

• See Sir John Davies' Discovery, 
kiu, the concludiofr paragraphs. 

And for further information on this 
point, see my articles in the Fort- 
nightly Hevieia, 1870, and the 
Nineteenth Century, January 1881, 
< On the Irish Land Question.* 

' See the surveys in the Record 
of Carnarvon, 

Its Earlier Stages 239 

go, what may be called tribal houses must be erected Chap.vh 
for them. 

The tribal house is in itself typical of their tribal 
and nomadic life. It is of the same type and pattern 
for all their orders, but varying in size according to 
the gradation in rank of the occupier. 

It is built, like the houses observed by Giraldus Jhe triui 

"^ - house. 

Cambrensis, of trees newly cut from the forest.^ A 
long straight pole is selected for the roof-tree. Six well- 
grown trees, with suitable branches apparently reach- 
ing over to meet one another, and of about the same 
size as the roof-tree, are stuck upright in the ground 
at even distances in two parallel rows — three in 
each row. Their extremities bending over make a 
Gothic arch, and crossing one another at the top each 
pair makes a fork, upon which the roof-tree is fixed. 
These trees supporting the roof-tree are called gavaelsy 
forks^ or columns^ and they form the nave of the 
tribal house. Then, at some distance back from these 
rows of columns or forks^ low walls of stakes and 
wattle shut in the aisle^ of the house, and over all is 
the roof of branches and rough thatch, while at the 
ends are the wattle doors of entrance. All along the 
aisles, behind the pillars, are placed beds of rushes, 

* To make a royal house more 
pretentious the hark is peeled off, 
and it is called ' the TVhite House.^ 
See Ancient Laxos, S^c, pp. 164 and 

' See Ancient Laws, ^c, p. 142. 
— Hall of the chief. 40d. for each 
gavael supporting the roof, i.e, six 
kottmon, 80d. for roof. HaU of 
uchelwe or trihesman, 20d. each 
gavael supporting the roof, i.e. six 

coionen, 40d. the roof. House of 
ullt or taeogy lOd. for each gavael 
supporting the roof, t.a. six kolovyn, 
P. 361. — Worth of winter house, 
30d. the roof-tree, SOd, each forck 
supporting the roof-tree. P. 676. — 
Three indispensables of the summer 
bothy (bivd hai'odwr) — a roof-tree 
(nen hren), roof-supporting forks 
(nen fyrch), and wattling (bangor). 
See also p. 288. 


The Tribal System. 

Chap. Vll 

The tribal 



central columns, or gavaels (Welsh for * fork '), into 
four separate divisions ; so there were four gavaela 
in a trev, and four randirs in a gavael. And so in 
after times, long after the tribal life was broken up, 
the original holding of an ancient tribesman became 
divided in the hands of his descendants into gaveUs 
and gwelys, or welea} 

Another point has been noticed. In the old 
times, when the tribesmen shifted about from place 
to place, their personal names by necessity could not 
be given to the places or tyddyns they lived in. The 
local names in a country where the tribal system pre- 
vailed were taken from natural characteristics-the 
streams, the woods, the hills, which marked the site. 
This was the case, for instance, with the townlands 
and tates of Ireland. Most of them bear witness, as 
we have seen, by their impersonal names, to the shift- 
ing and inconstant tenancy of successive tribesmen.' 

It was probably not till the tribes became sta- 
tionary, and, after many generations, the same families 
became permanent holders of the same homesteads, 
that the Welsh gwelya and gavella became permanent 
family possessions, known by the personal name of 
their occupants, as we find them in the extents of 
the fourteenth century.® 

Another characteristic of the tribal system in its 
early stages was the purely natural and tribal charac- 
ter of the system of blood-money^ answering to the 

' See the Record of Carnarvon, 
IntroductioD, p. vii. Wde^ Qwele, 
or Gively in Welsh signifies a bed, 
and accordingly in these extents it 
is often called in Latin LectuB, 
See pp. 90, 0&-99, 101. 

' See tupron and the lists given 
of the names of townlands and 
their meanings in Shirley's Hitt, oj 
Co. Monaghofif pp. 302-642. 

' Mocord of Carnarvon, passim. 

Its Earlier Stages. 243 

Wergelt of the Germans. It was not an artificial Chap-VH. 
bundling together of persons in tens or tithings, like 
the later Saxon and Norman system of frankpledge^ 
but strictly ruled by actual family relationship. The 
murderer of a man, or his relations of a certain degree, 
and in a certain order and proportion, according to 
their nearness of blood, owed the fixed amount of 
blood-money to the family of the murdered person, 
who shared it in the same order and proportions on 
their side.^ The same principle held good for insults 
and injuries, between not only individuals, but tribes. 
For an insult done by the tribesman of another tribe 
to a chief, the latter could claim one hundred cows 
for every cantrev in his dominion {y.e. a cow for 
every trev), and a golden rod.'^ 

The tribesmen and the tribes were thus bound Tenacity 
together by the closest ties, all springing, in the first habUa.* 
instance, from their common blood-relationship. As 
this ruled the extent of their liability one for another, 
so it fixed both the nearness of the neighbourhood of 
their tyddyns, and the closeness of the relationships of 
their common life. And these ties were so close, and 
the rules of the system so firmly fixed by custom and 
by tribal instinct, that Roman or Saxon conquest, 
and centuries of Christian influence, while they modi- 
fied and hardened it in some points, and stopped its 
actual nomadic tendencies, left its main features and 
spirit, in Ireland and Wales and Western Scotland, 
unbroken. It would seem that tribal life might well 
go on repeating itself, generation after generation, 
for a thousand years, with little variation, without 

a ' See Dimetian Code,B. II., c. L Ancient LatoSf 4r^., pp. 197 et seq. 

• /d p. a 

X 2 

244 The Tribal System. 

Chip. VII. really passing out of its early stages, unless in the 
meantime some uncontrollable force from outside of it 
should break its strength and force its life into other 

Nor was the tenacity of the tribal system more 
remarkable than its universaUty. As an economic 
stage in a people's growth it seems to be well-nigh 
universal. It is confined to no race, to no continent, 
and to no quarter of the globe. Almost every people 
in historic or prehistoric times has passed or is passing 
through its stages. 
Wide pre- Lastly, this wide prevalence and extreme tenacity 
the7rii>^^ of the tribal system may perhaps make it the more 
•Tstcm. Q^Qj iQ understand the almost equally wide preva- 
lence of that open-field system, by the simplest forms 
of which nomadic and pastoral tribes, forced by cir- 
cumstances into a simple and common agriculture, 
have everywhere apparently provided themselves 
with corn. It is not the system of a single people 
or a single race, but, in its simplest form, a system 
belonging to the tribal stage of economic progress. 
And as that tribal stage may itself take a thousand 
years, as in Ireland, to wear itself out, so the open 
field system also may linger as long, adapting itself 
meanwhile to other economic conditions ; in England 
becoming for centuries, under the manorial system, in 
a more complex form, the shell of serfdom, and leaving 
its dSbins on the fields centuries after the stage of 
serfdom has been passed ; in Ireland following the 
vicissitudes of a poor and wretched peasantry, whose 
tribal system, running its course till suddenly arrested 
under other and economically sadder phases thay 
serfdom, leaves a people swarming on the subdivided 

Eastern Britain not Tribal. 245 

land, with scattered patches of potato ground, held in ^"^- ^^^ 
* run -rig * or * rundale,' and clinging to the * grazing * 
on the mountain side for their single cow or pig, 
with a pastoral and tribal instinct ingrained in their 
nature as the inheritance of a thousand years. 

Such in its main features seems to have been the 
tribal system as revealed by the earUest Irish and 
Welsh evidence taken together. 

There remains the question, What was the rela- 
tion of this tribal system to the manorial system in 
the south-east of England and on the continent of 
Europe ? 


The manorial system of the east and the tribal tiw»o^^i» 

•^ and eait 

system of the west of Britain have now been traced Bntam 
back, in turn, upon British ground, as far as the bntmaini/ 
direct evidence extends, i.e. to within a very few ^^ 
generations of the time of the Saxon conquest ; and ^^ 
in neither system is any indication discernible of a conquMt. 
recent origin. 

So far as the evidence has hitherto gone, the two 
systems were, and had long been, historically dis- 
tinct. The tribal system probably once extended as 
far into Wessex as the eastern limits of the district 
long known as West Wales, i.e. as far east as Wilt- 
shire ; and within this district of England the 
manorial system was evidently imposed upon the 
conquered country, as it was later in portions of 

246 The Tribal System. Wales, leaving only here and there, as we have 
found, small and mainly local survivals of the earlier 
tribal system. 

But no evidence has yet been adduced leading to 
the inference that before the Saxon invasion the 
Welsh tribal system extended all over Britain. 

Indeed, the evidence of Cassar is clear upon the 
point that the economic condition of the south-east of 
Britain was quite distinct from that of the interior 
and west of Britain even in pre-Roman times. 
Evidence CsBsar describcs the south and east of Britain, 

which he calls the maritime portion, as inhabited by 
those who had passed over from the country of the 
Belgae for the purpose of plunder and war, almost 
all of whom, he says, retain the name of the states 
{civitates) from which they came to Britain, where 
after the war they remained, and began to cultivate 
the fields. Their buildings he describes as exceedingly 
numerous, and very like those of the Gauls.^ The 
most civilised of all these nations, he says, are those 
who inhabit Kent, which is entirely a maritime dis- 
trict ; nor do they differ much from Gallic customs.* 

He speaks, on the other hand, of the inland in- 
habitants as aborigines who mostly did not sow com, 
but fed upon flesh and milk.* 

Now, we have seen that the main distinctive mark 
of the tribal system was the absence of towns and 
villages, and the preponderance of cattle over corn. 

When corn becomes the ruling item in economic 
arrangements, there grows up the settled homestead 
and the village, with its open fields around it. 

* Lib. V. c. 12. * 0. 14. • 0. 14. 

Eastern Britain not Tribal. 247 

Caesar, therefore, in describing the agriculture and Chap. vii. 
buildings of the Belgic portion of England, and the """^ 
non-agricultural but pastoral habits of the interior, 
exactly hit upon the distinctive differences between 
the already settled and agricultural character of the 
south-east and the pastoral and tribal polity of the 
interior and west of Britain. 

Nor was this statement one resting merely upon ^ ^V^' 


hearsay evidence. Caesar himself found corn crops country 
ripening on the fields, and relied upon them for the daring 
maintenance of his army. Nay, the reason which ^i^** 
led him to invade the island was in part the fact 
that the Britons had given aid to the Gauls. Further, 
he obtained his information about Britain from the 
merchants, and the news of his approach was carried 
by the merchants into Britain, thus making it evident 
that there was a commerce going on between the 
two coasts, even in pre*Boman times.^ 

We know that throughout the period of Boman 
occupation Britain was a corn-growing country. 

Zosimus represents Julian as sending 800 vessels, ^^^ 
larger than mere boats, backwards and forwards to «««. 
Britain for com to supply the granaries of the cities 
on the Khine.^ 

Eumenius, in his * Panegjrric of Constantine ' (a.d. Komenint. 
310), also describes Britain as remarkable for the 
richness of its com crops and the multitude of its 

Pliny further describes the inhabitants of Britain Piinj- 
as being so far advanced in agriculture as to plough 

' Book iv. c. XX. and xxi. 

^ Book iiL c y. Mon. Brit, 

p. Izxvi., A..D. 858. 

* Mon. Brit. p. lxiz« 


The Tribal System. 



Chap.\u. in marl in order to increase the fertility of the 

Tacitus? in the same way (a.d. circa 90), speaks 
of the soil of Britain as fertile and bearing heavy 
crops {patiens frugum\ and describes the tricks of 
the tax gatherers in collecting the tributuniy which was 
exacted in com.* 

Strabo ^ (B.C. 30) mentions the export from Britain 
of ' coruj cattle, gold, silver, iron, skins, slaves, and 

Diodorus Sicuhis^ (b.c. 44) describes the manner 
of reaping and storing com in England thus : — 

They have mean habitationa constructed for the moet part of reeds 
or of wood, and thej gather in the harvest hy cutting off the ears of com 
and storing them in subterraneous repositories; they cull therefrom 
daily such as are old, and dressing them, have thence their sustenance. 
• • . The island is thickly inhabited. 



Lasdy, we have been recently reminded by Mr. 
Elton that Pytheas^ * the Humboldt of antiquity,' who 
visited Britain in the fourth century B.C., saw in the 
southern districts abundance of wheat in the fields. 

' Pliny {^Monument. Hist. Brit,, 
pp. Yiii. ix.) : ' Alia est ratio, quam 
Britannia et Gallia inyenere alendi 
eam (terram) ipsa: quod genus 
Yocant "margam,^ . . . Omnia 
antem marga aratro injicienda est' 

Pugh's Welsh Diet., p. d28: 
' Marl, earth deposited by water, a 
rich kind of day (with many com- 

See Chron, Monas, Ahingdon, 
JI. XXX. P. 147, 'on tha lam- 
pyttet ; ' p. 402, ' an thone Imnpyt ' 
(*latn,* loam, mud, clay. — Bos- 
worth, p. 415). Pp. 150 and 

404, *on tha cealc $eathas* {chalk* 

See Liber de Hyda, p. 88, 
' caelcgrafan * (chalk-pits). 

Compare Pliny {ubi mpra) with 
Abingdon, ii. p. 204 : * Totam ter- 
ram quse nimis pessima et infroc- 
tifera erat tam dtra aquam quam 
ultra compositione terras que Tulgo 
^ Maria " didtur, ipse optimam et 
fructiferam fedt.' {Colne in Essex.) 

' In his Agricola, xii. 

' Agricola, xix. 

* Straho, Bk. IV. c. v. s. 2. 

* Mon. Brit. Exceipta, ii 

Eastern Britain not Tribal. 249 

and observed the necessity of threshing it out in Chap.vil 
covered bams, instead of using the unroofed thresh- 
ing-floors to which he was accustomed in Marseilles. 

* The natives/ he says, * collect the sheaves in great 

* bams, and thresh out the corn there, because they 
^ have so little sunshine that our open threshing-places 
^ would be of little use in that land of clouds and 

* rain.' ^ 

It is clear, then, that in the south-east of Britain a 
considerable quantity of corn was grown all through 
the period of Boman rule and centuries before the 
Boman conquest of the island. And if so, that differ- 
ence between the pastoral tribal districts of the in- 
terior and the more settled agricultural districts of the 
south and east, noticed by Cssar, was one of long 

The tribal system of Wales fumishes us, there- 
fore, with no direct key to the economic condition of 
South-eastern Britain. 

But, on the other hand, the continuous and long- 
continued growth of corn in Britain from century to 
century adds great interest to the further question. 
Upon what system was it grown ? 

Upon what other system can it have been grown The com 
than the openrjield system ? The universal prevalence gJJ^ on 
of this system makes it almost certain that the fields ^^^^ 
found by Csesar waving with ripening com were t^- 
open fields. The open-field system was hardly first 
introduced by the Saxons, because we find it also in 
Wales and Scotland. It was hardly introduced by 
the Eomans, because its division lines and measure- 

^ Elton's Oiigin» of Engluh Higtoty^ p. 82. 


The Tribal System. 

Chap. VII. ments axe evidently not those of the Roman agrimen- 
sores. The methods of these latter are well knovm 
from their own writings. Their rules were clear and 
definite, and wherever they went they either adopted 
the previous divisions of the land, or set to work on 
their own system of straight lines and rectangular dim- 
sums. We may thus guess what an open field would 
have been if laid out, de novo, by the Roman agrimen- 
sores \ and conclude that the irregular network or 
spider's web of furlongs and strips in the actual open 
fields of England with which we have become familiar 
is as great a contrast as could well be imagined to 
what the open field would have been if laid out 
directly under Roman rules. 

We happen to know also, from passages which 
we shall have occasion to quote hereafter, that the 
Roman agrimensores did find in other provinces — ^we 
have no direct evidence for Britain — an open-field 
system, with its irregular boundaries, its joint occupa- 
tion, its holdings of scattered pieces, and its common 
rights of way and of pasture, existing in many dis- 
tricts — in multis regionibus — where the red tape rules 
of their craft had not been consulted, and the land 
was not occupied by regularly settled Roman colonies.^ 

The open-field system in some form or other we 
may understand, then, to have preceded in Britain 
even the Roman occupation. And perhaps we may 
go one step further. If the practice of ploughing 
marl into the ground mentioned by Phny was an 
early and local peculiarity of Britain and of Gaul, as 
it seems to have been from his description, then clearly 

^ Siculus Flftccus, De Conditio^ 
nffms Agrorum. Ctromatici veteres. 

Lachmann. P. 152. The passage 
will be given in full hereafter. 

Eastern Britain not Tribal. 251 

it indicates a more advanced stage of the system than Chap, vii, 
the early Welsh co-aration of portions of the waste. 
The mai'ling of land implies a settled arable farming 
of the same land year after year, and not a ploughing 
up of new ground each year. It does not follow that 
there was yet a regular rotation of crops in three 
courses, and so the fully organised three-field system ; 
but evidently there were permanent arable fields 
devoted to the growth of com, and separate from the 
grass land and waste, before Boman improvements 
were made upon British agriculture. 

But the prevalence of an open-field husbandry in waa th* 
its simpler forms was, as we have been taught by the SMtSair 
investigation into the tribal systems of Wales and 
Ireland, no evidence of the prevalence of that parti- 
cular form of the open-field husbandry which was 
connected with the manorial system, and of which 
the yard-land was an essential feature. In order 
to ascertain the probability of the manorial system 
having been introduced by the Saxons, or having 
preceded the Saxon conquest in the south and es^t of 
Britain, it becomes necessary to examine the manorial 
system in its Continental history, so as if possible, 
working once more from the known to the unknown 
— this time from the better known Boman and 
German side of the question — to find some stepping- 
stones at least over the chasm in the English evi- 

254 The Roman Land System. 

Chap. We have seen how King Alfred, in the remarkable 

VIII. , .® 

1 passage quoted in an earlier chapter, put in contrast 

the temporary log hut on Isenland with the permanent 
hereditary possession — the *Aam' or manor. This 
latter was, as we have seen, the estate of a manorial 
lord, with a community of dependants or serfs upon 
it, and not a village of coequal freemen. Hence the 
word ham did not properly describe the clusters of 
scattered homesteads in the Welsh district. In King 
Alfred's time Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, and even 
parts of Wiltshire were still, as already mentioned, 
regarded as Welsh. They formed what was known as 
West Wales. The manorial system had encroached 
far into them, but it would seem that the phraseology 
of the earlier system had not yet wholly disappeared. 
King Alfred in his will carefully abstained from ap- 
plying the word ham to his numerous possessions in 
these districts. 

He disposed in his will of more than thirty sepa- 
rately named estates in this West Welsh district, but 
he invariably used, in describing them, the word 
* land ' — the land or the landes at such and such a 
place ; — and he concluded this part of his will with 
the statement, * These are all that I have in Wealcyne^ 
except in Truconshirie ' (in Cornwall). Then in the 
re&t of his will King Alfred disposed of nearly as 
many estates in the south-east or manorial districts of 
England, and here he immediately changed his style. 
It was no more the land at this place and that, but the 
ham at such and such a place.^ In the old English 
translation of the will given in the Liber de Byda 

■ Liber de Hyda, p. 63. 

The Ham^ Heim^ and Villa. 


* land ' is rendered by * lond ' and * ham * invariably Chap. 

by * twune' ^ Thus without saying that the words 1 

ham and tun always were used in this sense, and could 
be used in no other, they were generaUy at least 
synonymous with manor. 

As late as the time of Bede, the suflBx ' ham ' or 
' tun ' was not yet so fully embodied with the names 
of places as to form a part of them. In the Cam- 
bridge MS. of his works ' ham ' is still written as a 
separate word. 

It is a curious fact that the suflSx * ton ' or ' tun * 
was practically used nowhere on the Continent in the 
names of places ; but the other manorial suflSx, ' ham,' The 0w 

'' man ktwu 

in one or other of its forms—' hem,' * heim,' or * haim ' 
— was widely spread. And as in those districts where 
it was found most abundantly, it translated itself, as 
in England, into the Latin viUa^ its early geographical 
distribution may have an important significance. 

On the annexed map is marked for each county Geogra- 
the per-centage of the names of places mentioned in uibution 
the Domesday Survey ending in ham} This will give and Mm$. 
a fair view of their distribution in Saxon England. 
It will be seen that the * hams ' of England were in Eng^ 
most numerous in the south-eastern counties, from ^°^ 
Lincolnshire and Norfolk to Sussex, finding their 
densest centre in Essex.* 

Passing on to the Continent, very similar evidence, in Pi- 
but of earlier date, is aflbrded for a small district ^' 
surrounding St. Omer, in Picardy, by a survey of the 

* Liber de Hyda, pp. 67 et seq. 

• The per-centage is under-eeti- 
mated, owing to the repetition of 
various forms of the same name 
having heen excluded in counting 

those ending in ham, hut not in 
counting the total numher of places. 
' In Essex the A is often 
dropped, and the suffix hecomet 
* am.* 

256 The Roman Land System. 

CifAP. estates of the Abbey of St. Bertin, taken about the 

^ year 850. The ' villas ' there mentioned as ' ad 

fratrum xisus pertinentes^' and which were distinctly 
manors, are twenty-five in number, and the names of 
fifteen of them ended in * hem.' ^ 

Similar evidence is given for various districts in 
Germany in the list of donations to the abbeys, the 
abbots of which possessed estates in different parts 
of Germany — sometimes whole manors or villages, 
sometimes only one or two holdings in this or that 
In tha On the accompanying map are marked the sites 

abboy* ^f placcs mentioned in the cartularies of the Abbeys 
of Fulda,^ Corvey,^ St. Gall,* Frising,^ Wizenburg,* 
Lorsch,^ and in other early records, ending in heim in 
the various districts of Germany. The result is re- 
UeifM markable. It shows that these heims were most 
nmneroas numcrous in what was once the Roman province of 
Roman Germaniu Prima^ on the left bank of the upper Rhine, 
Pjfoy»°c« the present Elsass, and on both sides of the Rhine 

of Genna- j % 

Dia Prima, around Mayence — districts conquered by the Frankish 
and Alamannic tribes in tlie fifth century, but in- 
habited by Germans from the time of Tacitus, and 
perhaps of Caesar, and so districts in which German 
populations had come very early and continued long 
under Roman rule. In this district the heims rose in 


* Chaftuhrium Sithienae, p. 

* Traditiones et Antiquitates 
Fuidenses. Dronke, Fulda, 1844. 

' Traditiones Corbeienses. Wi- 

Zurich, 1863. 

* Historia Ft'isingennSf Ma- 
chelb«ck, 1729. 

^ Traditiones possessionesque 
Wixenburyemes, SpirsB, 1842. 

gand, 1843. ^ Codex Laureshamensis Diplo-^ 

* Urkundenhuch der Ahtei St, maficuSf 176S. 
Oalien, a.d. 700-840. Wartmann, 










The Ham, Heim, and Villa. 257 

number to 80 per cent, of the places mentioned in yJ^J; 
the charters. — 

There were many, but not so many, helms in the 
valley of the Neckar ; but everywhere (with small 
local exceptions) they faded away in districts outside 
the Roman boundary, except in Frisia, where the 
proportion was large. 

Now, the question is, what do these heim^s repre- 

We have already said that they interchange like jsmm «id 
the EngUsh * ham ' with the Latin * villa.' The dis- ohtDgS. '^ 
tricts where they occur most thickly, where they 
formed 80 per cent, of the names of places in the 
tune of the monastic grants, and which had formed 
for several centuries the Boman province of Upper 
Germany, shade off into districts which abounded with 
local names ending in villa. 

They did so a thousand years ago, and they do so 
now. It is only needful to examine the Ordnance 
Survey of any part of these districts to see how, even 
now, the places with names ending in * heim * are 
mixed with others ending in * villa,' or * wilare,' or wuan^ 
the Germanised form of the word, * weiler,' or * wyl ; ' «y4 * 
and further, how the region abounding with * heims ' 
shades off into a district abounding with names end- 
ing in ' villa,' or * wilare,' and we may add the equally 
manorial Latin or Eomance termination curtia^ or 
' court,' and its German equivalent * hof,' or * hoven.' 
And such was the case also at the date of the earliest 
monastic charters. 

This fact in itself at least suggests very strongly 
that here, as in England, * ham ' and * villa ' were 
synonyms for the same thing, sometimes called by its 



The Roman Land System. 


Latin and sometimes by its German name. Indeed, 
actual instances may be found in the charters of these 
districts in which the name of the same place has 
sometimes the suffix villa or trt^re and sometimes A^m J 

Moreover, these places which are thus called 
• villas ' or * heims ' in the monastic charters were to 
all intents and purposes manors as far back as the re- 
cords allow us to trace them. 

The earliest surveys of the possessions of the 
abbeys leave no doubt as to their manorial character .' 

And the earliest charters prove that they were 
often at least manorial estates before they were handed 
over to the monks. 

Indeed, a careful examination of the Wizenburg 
and Lorsch charters and donations leads to the result 
that these * heims ' and * villas ' were often royal 
manors, ' vilke fiscales' on the royal domains, just as 
Tidenham and Hysseburne were in England. They 
seem to have often been held as benefices by a dux 

^ The following are examples of 
the interchange of villa and heim 
in the names of places mentioned 
in the charters of the Abbey of 
Wisenburg in the district of Spires. 
The numbers refer to the charters 
in the Traditiones Wuenburffenses, 

Batanandouilla (9). 
Batanantesheim (28). 

Hariolfesuilla (4). 
Hariolueshaim (56). 

Lorencenheim (141). 
Lorenzenuillare (275). 

Modenesheim (2). 
Moduinouilare (52). 

Moresuuilari (180). 
Moresheim (181). 

Munifridesheim (118), 
Munifiidouilla (52). 

Radolfeehamomarca (90), 

Ratolfesham, p. 241. 

Radolfoumlari, Kadulfo yilla (71 
and 73) . So also, among the manors 
of the Abbey of St Bertin, * Tat- 
tinga Villa' granted to the abbey 
in A.D. 648 (Chart. Sithietue, p. 18), 
called afterwards ' Tattingahdm ' 
(p. 158). See also Codex Dip. ii. 
p. 227, ' Oswaldingvillare ' inter- 
changeable with ' Oswaldingtune/ 
in England. See also Codex Za»- 
rethamentis, iii. preface. 

* See Traditionee Wittnbwgen' 
see, pp. 269 et eeq. Codex Laureo^ 
hameneUf iii. pp. 175 «< eeq. 

The Bam^ Heirriy and Villa. 


•or a comeSy or other beneficiary of the king, just as 
Saxon royal manors were held by the king's thanes as 
* laen-land/ * 

Thus the royal domains of Frankish kings were 
apparently under manorial management, and practi- 
cally divided up into manors. The boundaries or 
^marchae' of one manor often divided it from the 
next manor ;• while one * villa* or * heim ' often had 
sub-manors upon it, as in the case of Tidenham.* 

Thus the ' villa,' * heim,' or * manor,' seems to 
have been the usual fiscal and judicial territorial 
•unit under Prankish rule, as the manor once was 
and the parish now is in England. And this alone 
seems to afford a satisfactory explanation of the use 
of the word villa ' in the early Frankish capitularies, 
and in the Salic laws. It is there used apparently for 
both private estates and the smallest usual territorial 
unit for judicial or fiscal purposes.* 

When a law speaks of a person attacking or taking 
possession of the * villa ' of another, the * villa ' is 
•clearly a private estate. But when it speaks of a 



^ SeeamoDg the Lorsch char- 
ters that of Hephenheim (A.i>. 773). 
^ Hanc villain cum sylva habuerunt 
in beneficio Wegelenzo, pater Wa- 
rini, et post eum Warinus Comes 
iilius ejus in ministerium habuit ad 
opuB regis et post eum Bougolfus 
'Comes quousque eam Carolus rex 
Sancto Nazario tradidit ' (I. p. 16). 

' See again the case of Hephenr 
heim, * Limites. Inprimis incipit a 
ioco ubi Gerneslieim marcha adjun- 
.gitur ad Hephenheim marcham/ &c. 

* ' Villam aliquam nuncupatam 
Ilephenbeim sitam in P»igo Re- 
jiense, cum omni merito et solidi- 

tate sua, et quicquid ad eandem 
villam legitime aspicere vel perti- 
nere videtur.' See also the case of 
the Manor of ' Sitdiu/ with its 
twelve sub-«states upon it, granted 
to the Abbot of St. Bertin kj>. 64^ 
Chartvlarium Sithierue, p. 18. 

* Lex SaUca, xxxix. (cod. ii.), 4. 
'Nomina hominum et viilamm 
semper debeat nominare.' 

zlv. (De Migrantibus). When 
any one wants to move £rom one 
' vUla ' to another, he cannot do so 
without the licence of those * qui in 
villa consistunt ; ' but if he has re* 
moved and stayed in another * villa ' 



J%e Roman Land System. 

Chap crime Committed * between two villas,' the word seems 

to be used for a judicial jurisdiction, just as if we 

should say ' between two parishes.' 

This double use of the word becomes intelligible 
if * villa ' may be used as * manor,' and if the whole 
country — the terra regis with the rest — were divided 
in the fifth century into * villas ' or * manors,' but 
hardly otherwise. 

The remarkable passage in the Salic laws *Z>e 
MigrantibitSj which provides that no one can move 
into and settle in another * villa ' without the license 
of those * qui in villa consistunt,' but that after 
a twelvemonth's stay unmolested he shall remain 
secure, ' sicut et alii vicini,' seems at first sight to 
imply Sifree village} But another clause which per- 
mits the emigrant to settle if he has the royal * pr»- 
ceptum ' to do so,* suggests that the * villa ' in ques- 
tion was one of the royal ' villas ' — a * villa fiscalis ' 
in the demesne of the Crown.* 
iSRm and The Salic law has come down to us in Latin 

Si^^Lws! versions, but the Malberg glosses contain some in- 
dications that the word viUa was used as a translation 
of variations of the word ham^ then applied by the 
Franks to both kinds of villas in the manorial sense. 
The old tradition recorded in the prologue to the 

twelve months, ' securus aicat et alii 
vicini maneat.' 

xiv. ' Si quia vitta aliena adsa- 
lierit. . . .' 

xlii. T. ' Si quia viBam alienam 
expugnayerit. . . .' 

Capitulare Ludovici IMmt, ix. 
* De eo qui villam alterius occu- 
paverit * (HeBsels and Kern's edition, 
p. 419). 

Ododovechi Regis Capitula 
(id. p. 408), A.D. 500-1. « De 
hominem inter duas viUa$ occisiun.* 

^ Lex Salica, xly. 

« Id. xiv. 

* This inference ifl drawn by Dr. 
p. Rotb, Qeschichte de$ Beneficialwe- 
tenSf p. 74. See also Waitz, V. G. 
ii. 31. 

The Ham, Heim^ and ViUa. 


later versions of the Salic laws, whatever it be worth, Cajp. 
attributes their first compilation to four chosen men, — ^ 
whose names and residences are as follows : — ^Uuiso- 
gastis, Bodogastis, Salegastis, Uuidogastis, in loca 
nominancium, Bodochamce, Salcham», Uuidocham®. 

In another version of the prologue instead of the 
words 'in loca naminandum; the reading is 'in 
villis^* and the termination of the names is * chem,* 
* hem/ and ' em.'* 

Dr. Kern, in editing the Malberg glosses, points and in tin 
out that the gloss in Title xlii. shows that ' ham ' giosm 
might be used by the Franks in the sense of * court ' 
— king's court,' — just as in some parts of the Nether- 
lands, especially in the Betuwe, * ham ' is even now a 
common name for ancient mansions, such as in me- 
diaeval Latin were termed 'curtes.' Thus he shows 
that the Frankish words * chami theuto ' (the bull of 
the ham) were translated in Latin as ' taurum regisj 
cham being taken to mean king's court.* Possibly the 
lord of a mlla provided the * village bull,' just as till re- 
cent times in the Hitchin manor, as we have seen, the 
village bull was under the manorial customs provided 
for the commoners by the rectorial sub-manor. 

So in another place the word ' chamesialia ' seem? 
to be used in the Malberg gloss for * in truste do- 
minicab ^ the ' cham' again being taken in a thoroughly 
manorial sense. 

That there were manorial lords with lidi and tri- 
butarii — semi-servile tenants — as well as servi^ or 
slaves, under them, is clear from other passages of the 
Salic laws.* 

^ HesselB and Kern's edition, 
pp. 422-8. 

* By the authon of the Lex 

Emendatu, Note 39, p. 451. 
• Note 216, p. 628. 
« Tit zzyL (1) 'Si quis Udorn 


The Roman Land System, 


But the * ham ' of the Malberg glosses seems to 
have had sometimes at least the king for its lord. And 
this brings us again to the double use in the Salic 
laws of the word * villa.' It seems, as we have said, 
to have been used not only for a * villa ' in private 
hands, but also in a wider sense for the usual fiscal 
or judicial territorial unit, whether under the juris- 
diction of a manorial lord, or of the * villicus ' or 
•judex,' or beneficiary of the king. 

Lastly, the early date of the Salic laws bringing 
the Prankish and Eoman provincial rule into such close 
proximity, irresistibly raises the question^ whether 
there may not have been an actual continuity, first 
between the Boman and Frankish villa, and secondly, 
between the Boman system of management of the 
imperial provincial domains during the later empire, 
and the Frankish system of manorial management of 
the * terra regis ' or * villas fiscales ' after the Frank- 
ish conquest. K this should turn out to have been the 
case, then the further question will arise whether under 
the tribal system of the Germans the beginnings of 
manorial tendencies can be so far traced as to explain 
the ease with which Frankish and Saxon conquerors 
of the old Boman provinces fell into manorial ways, 
and adopted the manor as the normal type of estate. 

This is the line of inquiry which it is now pro- 
posed to follow. 

alienum extra consHium domini sui 
ante Begem per denarium ingenuum 
dimiserit nnic. den. qui faciunt sol. 
e. oulp. judicetur, et capitate do- 
mino ipsius restituat. (2) Res irero 
ipsius lidi legitimo domino resti- 
tuantur. (3) Si quia seryum alie- 

num/ &c. &c.(H. and K. 186-144) 
There were also Roman tribu- 

tariiy Tit. xli. 'Si quis Romanum 

tributarium occiderit/ &c. (s. 7). 
^ See on this point Roth, pp. 83 

et seq. 

The Roman ViUa. 





The Boman viUa was, in fact, exceedingly like The 
a manor, and, moreover, becommg more and more vuiaiikea 
so in the Gallic and German provinces, at least under "*'^^'^* 
the later empire as time went on. 

The villa, as described by Varro and Columella, An estate, 
before and shortly after the Christian era, was a farm 
— a fundus. It was not a mere residence, but, like 
the villa of the present day in Italy, a territory or 
estate in land. 

The lord's homestead on the villa was surrounded The owr^ 
by two enclosed 'cohortes,' or courts, from which 
was derived the word * curtisj so often applied to the 
later manor-house.^ 

At the entrance of the outer court was the abode The 


of the ' villicus ' — a strictly manorial officer, as we have and siavea 
seen — generally a slave chosen for his good qualities.* 
Near this was the common kitchen, where not only 
the food was cooked, but also the slaves performed 
their indoor work. Here also were cellars and 
granaries for the storing of produce, the cells in which 
were the night quarters of the slaves, and the under- 
ground * ergastulumj with its narrow windows, high 
and out of reach, where those slaves who were kept 
in chains lived, worked, and were tormented ; for 

» Varro, L 18. 

* Cato, H R, 2. Columella, R. 
JR. L 6-8. M. Guerard says of the 
^ viUicus/ ' Get officier est le m§me 

que nous retroayons aa moyen ftge 
sous son ancien nom de viUicus^ ou 
sous le nom nouveau de major.* 
Polyptiqus d'Irminan, i. 442. 


The Roman Land System. 

^p- But the * ham ' of the Malberg glosses seems to 

■ have had sometimes at least the king for its lord. And 

this brings us again to the double use in the Salic 
laws of the word * villa/ It seems, as we have said, 
to have been used not only for a * villa ' in private 
hands, but also in a wider sense for the usual fiscal 
or judicial territorial unit, whether under the juris- 
diction of a manorial lord, or of the * villicus ' or 
•judex,' or beneficiary of the king. 

Lastly, the early date of the SaUc laws bringing 
the Frankish and Roman provincial rule into such close 
proximity, irresistibly raises the question^ whether 
there may not have been an actual continuity, first 
between the Eoman and Frankish villa, and secondly, 
between the Eoman system of management of the 
imperial provincial domains during the later empire, 
and the Frankish system of manorial management of 
the * terra regis ' or * villae fiscales ' after the Frank- 
ish conquest. K this should turn out to have been the 
case, then the further question will arise whether under 
the tribal system of the Germans the beginnings of 
manorial tendencies can be so far traced as to explain 
the ease with which Frankish and Saxon conquerors 
of the old Eoman provinces fell into manorial ways, 
and adopted the manor as the normal type of estate. 
This is the line of inquiry which it is now pro- 
posed to follow. 

alienum extra consilium domini sui 
ante Hegem per denarium ingenuum 
dimiserit nmc. den. qui faciunt sol. 
e. oulp. judicetur, et capitate do- 
mino ipsius restituat. (2) Res vero 
ipsius lidi legitimo domino resti- 
tuantur. (3) Si quis senrum alie- 

num,' &c. &c. (H. and K. 186-144) 
There were alao Roman tribu- 

tarii, Tit. xli. 'Si quia Romanuni 

tributarium occiderit/ &c. (s. 7). 
* See on this point Roth, pp. 83 

et seq. 

The Eoman VtUa. 





The Boman villa was, in fact, exceedingly like The 
a manor, and, moreover, becoming more and more niia like a 
so in the Gallic and German provinces, at least imder "^^'^' 
the later empire as time went on. 

The villa, as described by Varro and Columella, An estate, 
before and shortly after the Christian era, was a farm 
— a fundus. It was not a mere residence, but, like 
the villa of the present day in Italy, a territory or 
estate in land. 

The lord's homestead on the villa was surrounded The owrti$. 
by two enclosed * cohortes,' or courts, from which 
was derived the word * curtisj so often applied to the 
later manor-house.^ 

At the entrance of the outer court was the abode The 


of the ' viUicus ' — a strictly manorial officer, as we have and siavea 
seen — generally a slave chosen for his good qualities.* 
Near this was the common kitchen, where not only 
the food was cooked, but also the slaves performed 
their indoor work. Here also were cellars and 
granaries for the storing of produce, the cells in which 
were the night quarters of the slaves, and the under- 
ground ' ergastulumj with its narrow windows, high 
and out of reach, where those slaves who were kept 
in chains lived, worked, and were tormented ; for 

* Varro, i. 18. 

* Cato, H R, 2. Columella, R. 
JR. i. 6-8. M. Guerard says of the 
^ yillicus/ ' Get officier est le mSme 

que nous retroayons aa moyen ftge 
sous son ancien nom de vtiHeui, ou 
sous le nom nouveau de major* 
Folifptique eTIrminon, i. 442. 

264 The Roman Land System, 

Chap, in the erqastulum was revealed the cruel side of the 


1 system of slave labour under Eoman law. Columella 

says that the cleverest slaves must oftenest be kept in 
chains.^ Cato, according to Plutarch, advised that 
slaves should be incited to quarrel amongst them- 
selves, lest they should conspire against their master, 
and considered it to be cheaper to work them to death 
than to let them grow old and useless.^ 

In the inner ' cohort ' were the stalls and stables 
for the oxen, horses, and other live stock ; and all 
around was the land to be tilled. 

Thus the Eoman viUa, if not at first a complete 
manor, was already an estate of a lord (dominus) 
worked by slaves under a villicus. 

Sometimes the whole work of the estate was done 
by slaves ; and though the estimates of historians 
have varied very much, there is no reason to doubt 
that in the first and second centuries the proportion 
of slaves to the whole population of the empire was 
TTie<ia(»- But cven the management of slaves required 

slaves. organisation. The anciently approved Roman method 
of managing the slaves on a viUa was to form them 
into groups of tens^ called decuricBy each under an 
overseer or decurio.^ 

The villicus, or general steward of the manor, was 
sometimes a freedman. And there was a strong 
reason why a freedman was often put in a position of 
trust, viz. that if he should be dishonest, or show 

* Columelliiy De Be ButttcOf i. 8. , quam denum bominum faciundffi^ 
^ Plutarch, Cato, c 21. See Cod, quae decurias appellaveruut antiqui 

Theod. IX. zii. et maxime probaTerunt.* — Colii- 

* * Claaees etiam non majores mella, i. 9. 

The Roman ViUa. 265 

Ingratitude to his patron, he was liable to be degraded Ohap. 

again into slavery. There is an interesting fragment 

of Eoman law which suggests that the decurio of a 
gang of slaves was sometimes difreedman^ and that it 
was a common practice to assign to the freedman a 
portion of land and a decuria of slaves, and no doubt 
oxen also to work it, thus putting him very much in 
the position of a colonus with slaves under him. The 
result of his betrayal of trust, in the case mentioned 
in the fragment, was his degradation, and the re- 
sumption by his patron of the decuria of slaves.^ 
Thus we learn that the lord of a villa might, in 
addition to his home farm worked by the slaves in 
his own homesteadj have portions of the land of his 
estate let out, as it were, to farm to freedmen^ each 
with his decuria of slaves, and paying rent in produce. 

There was nothing very pecuUarly Eoman in this oronp§ of 
system of classification in tens. The fact that m«i ^^^ 
everywhere have ten fingers makes such a classifica- 
tion all but universal. But the Eomans certainly did 
use it for a variety of purposes — for taxation and 
military organisation as well as in the management of 
the slaves of a villa. And M. Guerard^ probably 
with reason, connects these decurias of the Eoman 
villa with the decanice, or groups of originally ten 
servile holdings, under a viUicus or decanuSy which 
are described on the estates of the Abbey of St. Ger- 
main in the Survey of the Abbot Irminon about a.d. 
850.* So possibly a survival of a similar system may 
be traced also in the much earlier instances men- 
tioned by Bede under date a.d. 655, in one of which 

> Fragment Jur. Rom. Vatic. I * Pdyptique dirminon, i pp, 
i>72. Buschke, p. 774. | 46 and 456. 

266 The Roman Land iSystem. 

Chap. King Oswy grants to the monastery at Hartlepool 

1 tsR^v^possessiuncuUe^ each of ' ten families j ' and in the 

other of which the abbess Hilda, having obtained a 
^possession of ten families^' proceeds to build Whitby 
Abbey.^ In all these cases of the Boman freedman 
and his decuria^ the Galhc decanus and his decaniay 
and the Saxon possessiunciUa of ten families, there is 
the bundle of ten slaves or semi-servile tenants with 
their holdings, treated as the smallest usual territorial 

But to return to the Roman villa. The organisa- 
tion of decurice of slaves was not the only resource of 
the lord in the management of his estate. 
Tiwooioni, Varro speaks of its being an open point, to be 
^ * ^ *■ decided according to the circumstances of each farm,, 
whether it were better to till the land by slaves or 
by freemen, or by both.^ And Columella, speaking 
of the families or * hands ' upon a farm, says * they 

* are either slaves or coloni ; ' * and he goes on to say,. 

* It is pleasanter to deal with coloni, and easier to get 
*out of them work than payments. . . . They will 

* sooner ask to be let off the one than the other. The 

* best cobniy he says, ' are those which are indigeni^ 
*bom on the estate and bound by hereditary tiea 

* to it.' Especially distant com farms, he considers, 
are cultivated with less trouble by free coloni than, 
by slaves under a villicus, because slaves are dishonest 
and lazy, neglect the cattle, and waste the produce ; 

^ Bede, III. c. xziv. * Singulas | is made of ' 10 bonde lands ' giretk 

poflsessiones decern erant famili- 

' See also the Anglo-Saxon 
Chrouicley anno 777, where mention 

to the monks at Medeehampstede. 
• Varro, L xvii. 
^ Columella, L yii. 

The Roman Villa. 


whilst colonic sharing in the produce, have a joint Chap. 
interest with their lord, 1 

That the coloni sometimes were indigeni upon the acUot^h 
estate, and were sometimes called originariij shows ^ * 
the beginning at least of a tendency to treat them as 
adscripH glebce, like the mediaeval ' nativi.' Indeed, 
we find it laid down in the later laws of the empire 
that coloni leaving their lord's estate could be re- 
claimed at any time within thirty years.^ And nothing 
could more clearly indicate the growth of the semi- 
servile condition of the colonus, as time went on, than 
the declaration (a.d. 531) that the son of a colonus 
who had done no service to the ' dominus terne ' 
during his father's lifetime, and had been absent more 
than thirty or forty years, could be recalled upon his 
father's death and obliged to continue the services 
due from the holding.* 

We know from Tacitus that the typical colonus 
had his own homestead and land allotted to his use, 
and paid tribute to his lord in com or cattle, or other 
produce. And there is a clause in the Justinian 
Code prohibiting the arbitrary increase of these tri- 
butes, another point in which the coloni resembled 
the later villani? 

A villa under a villicus, with servi under him Uktntm 
living within the 'curtis' of the villa, and with a 
Uttle group of coloni in their vicus also upon the 
estate, but outside the court, would thus be very much 
like a later manor indeed. And Frontinus,* describing 

^ 'Si quia colonus origmalis 
vel inquilinu8 ante ho8 triginta an- 
C08 de possessione discessit/ &c. 
— -CW. Theod, T. tit. x. 1. 

* Cod, Juit, zi. tit. xlvii. 22. 

* Cod. JuMt. zi. tit. xlix. 1. 

^ Frontini, Lib. iL De contro" 
vertiii Affforum. Lachmann, p. 53. 


The Roman Land System. 





the great extent of the latifundia^ especially of pro- 
vincial landowners, expressly says that on some of 
these private estates there was quite a population 
of rustics, and that often there were viUagea sur- 
rounding the viUa like fortifications. It would seem 
then that the villas in the provinces were still more 
like manors than those in Italy. 

It is now generally admitted that indirectly, at 
^^rm- least, the Eoman conquest of German territory — ^the 
Jtl^SL extension of the Eoman province beyond the Bhine 
and along the Danube — added greatly to the number 
of seminservile tenants upon the Eoman provincial 
estates, and so tended more and more to increase 
during the later empire the manorial character of 
the * villa;* whilst at the same time the pressure 
of Eoman taxation within the old province of Gaul, 
and beyond it, was so great as steadily to force more 
and more of the free tenants on the Ager Publicus to 
surrender their freedom and swell the numbers of 
the semi-servile class on the greater estates ; so that 
not only was the villa becoming more and more 
manorial itself, but also it was becoming more and 
more the prevalent type of estate. 

As regards the first point, during the later em- 
pire there was direct encouragement given to land- 
owners to introduce barbarians taken from recently 
conquered districts, and to settle them on their estates 
as cobniy and not as slaves. These foreign coloni 
became very numerous under the name of iributarti 
and perhaps * Iseti ; ' so that the proportion of coloni to 

• • • • 

* Frequenter in provinciis 
2iabent sutem in ealtibus privati 
non ezigaum populum plebeium et 

vicos circa villam in modum muni- 

The Roman Villa. 269 

slaves was probably, during the later period of Eoman Okap. 
rule, always increasing, and the Eoman viUa under its Z^ 
villicus was becoming more and more Uke a later 
manor, with a semi-servile village community of cohni 
or tributarii upon it in addition to the slaves.^ 

As r^ards the second point, the evidence will be 
given at a later stage of the inquiry. 

Confining our attention at present to the Eoman 
villa, and the slaves and semi-servile tenants upon it, 
we have finally to add to the fact of close resem- 
blance to the later manor and manorial tenants proof 
of actual historical connexion and continuity in dis- 
tricts where the evidence is most complete. 

A clear and continuous connexion can be traced in 
many cases, at all events in Gaul, between the Eoman 
villa and the later manor. 

In the letters of Sidonius ApoUinaris the Visi- 
gothic and Burgundian invaders are. described as 
adapting themselves roughly and coarsely to Eoman 
habits in many respects. He speaks of their being 
put into the * villas ' as * hospites.' Indeed, it is weU 
known that these Teutonic invaders settled as in- Oermaa 
vited guests, being called hospites or gasH ; ' that vuus. 
they shared the villas and lands of the Eomans on 
the same system as that which was adopted when 
Roman le^ons-often of German soldiers-were 
quartered on a district, according to a well-known 

* Cod. Theod. v. tit. iv. 8, 
A..D. 400. By this edict liberty is 
giyen for landowners to settle upon 
their property, as free coloni, people 
of the recently conquered ' Scyras ' 
(a tribe inhabiting the present 

' Moravia *). 

* Sid. Apol. J^pMf. ii. xii. He 
complains that a governor partial 
to bfirbarians *implet viBai hospi" 


The Roman Land System. 



givan to 

passage of the ' Codex Theodosianus.' ^ They took 
their sortesj or fixed proportions of houses and lands 
and slaves, and, sharing the lordship of these with 
their Eoman * cansortes^' they must have sanctioned 
and adapted themselves to the manorial character of 
the villas whose occupation they shared, ultimately 
becoming themselves lords of villas probably as ma- 
norial as any Eoman villas could be.' 

Dr. F. Both has shown that in Frankish districts 
many of the wealthy provincials remained, under 
Frankish rule, in unbroken possession of their former 
estates — ^their numerous ' villae.* Amongst these the 
bishops and abbots were conspicuous examples. He 
shows that thousands of * villae * thus remained un- 
changed upon the widely extended ecclesiastical 

Gregory of Tours speaks of the restitution by Eng 
Hildebert of the * villas ' unjustly seized under the law- 
less regime of Hilperic* He also relates how bishops 
and monasteries were endowed by the transfer to them 
of villas with the slaves and coloni upon them. 

Tinder the year 582, he mentions the death of 
a certain Chrodinus^ also the subject of a poem by 
Fortunatus, a great benefactor of the clergy, and 
describes him as ' founding villas, setting vineyards, 
* building houses [domos]^ making fields [cukurasjj 
and then, having invited bishops of slender means to 

» Cod, Theod. lib. \'ii. tit, viii. 
5. Compare as regards the Bur^ 
gundinn settlement tlie passages in 
the Burgundian Laics, carefully 
commented upon in Binding's ' Das 
Burgundisch'Bomanwche Kontg" 
retch, von 443 bis 632 A.D./ 1, c i. 

s. ii. et ieg. 

* Binding, p. 36. And they 
called them mllai. Leges Burg. 
T. 88-9. 

' Roth's Geschichte des Benefit 
cialwesens, p. 81. 

^ Hist, Francorum, f. 344. 

The Roman Villa. 271 

Lis table, after dinner * kindly distributing these ^^ 

^ houses^ with the cultivators and the fields^ toith the 

* furniture^ and male and female servants and house- 
■* hold slaves [ministris etfamulis']y saying, " These are 
* " given to the Church, and whilst with these the 
* " poor will be fed, they will secure to me favour 
* " with God." ' 1 

Here, then, after the Frankish conquest, we have 
the word villa still used for the typical estate ; and the 
estate consists of the domus^ with the vineyards and 
the fields, and their cultivators. 

Turning to the earhest monastic records we have 
seen that the * villas ' or * heims * of the abbeys of 
Wizenburg and Lorsch were in fact manors. 

The donations to the Abbot of St. Germain-des- vnioM h^ 
Pr^s,' in the neighbourhood of Paris, commenced in ^!JJ^^**" 
the year 558, and in the survey of the estates of the 
Abbey made in the year 820, there are described 
vilkis still cultivated by colonic feft', &c. — villas which 
grew into villages which now bear the names of the 
villas out of which they sprang : — 

Levaci Villa, now Leoamlle (p. 90). 
Zandulfi VUla, now Landonville (p. 04). 
Aneia VUlaf now Anville. 
Gaudeni Vilia, now Ormville (p. 99). 
Sonant Vilia, now Senainviile (p. 100). 
Viila AUeni, now AUainviUe (p. 102). 
Zedi Villa, now ZaidevilU (p. 102). 
Disboth Villa, now BouvilU (p. 104). 
Mornane VUlare, now MainviUiern (p. 112). 
And HO on in numbers of instancea 

The chartulary of the Abbey of St. Bertin also 

' Hiit. Francorum, f. 296. 
^ Fofyptique dirminon, L&rge 
donations were made to the abbey 

as early as A.D. 558 by the Frank- 
ish King Hildebert See M. Gue- 
rard 8 Introduction, p. 85. 


272 The Roman Land System. 

^p- contains instructive examples. By the earliest charter 
1 of A.D. 648 the founder of the abbey granted to the 

mad 'Amu' ™^^^^ ^^^ ^* Called ' Sttdiu,' and it included within 
whidiare it twelvc sub-cstatcs, ouc of them, the Tattinga ViUa^ 
which later is called in the cartulary Tattingaheim} 

The chief villa with these sub-estates was granted 
to the abbey * cum domihus^ cedijiciis^ terris cukis et 
^incultisy mansionea cum silvis pi^atis pascuis, aquis 

* aquarumve decursibuSy seu farinariis, mancipiiSj acco- 

* labuSy greges cum pastoribus^' &c. &c., and therefore 
was a manor with both slaves {mancipia) and colonic 
or other semi-servile tenants {accoloe) upon it, as indeed 
were the generality of villas handed over to the 

There seems, therefore, to be conclusive evidence 
not only of a remarkable resemblance, but also in 
many cases of a real historical continuity between 
the Soman ^ villa ' and the later Frankish manor. 


Tenanu Passing from that part of the land m Roman 

Ag§t provinces included in the villas, or latifundia, of the 
■ richer Romans, and so placed under private lordship, 
we must now turn our attention to the wide tracts of 
* Ager PublicuSj and try to discover the position and 
social economy of the tenants, so to speak, on the 
great provincial manor of the Roman Emperor. 

Care must be taken to discriminate between the 

^ CharttUarium SithienH, pp. 18 and 158. 

The Small Holdings. 273 

different classes of these tenants, some of them beins Chap. 
of a free and some of them of a semi-servile kind. 1. 

First, there were the veterans of the legions, who, The 
according to Eoman custom, were settled on the 
pubUc lands at the close of a war, by way of pay 
for their services. 

For the settlement of these, sometimes reeularlv Rog^^ 


constituted miUtary cohnicB were founded; and in 
this case, where everything had to be started de novo^ 
a large tract of land was divided for the purpose by 
straight roads and lanes — ^pointing north, and south, 
and east, and west — into centurice of mostly 200 or 
240 jugeray which were then sub-divided into equal 
rectangular divisions, according to the elaborate 
rules of the Agrimenaores^ the odds and ends of land, 
chiefly woods and marshes, being alone left to be used 
in common by the * vicini,' or body of settlers. 

But in other cases the settlement was much more 
irr^ular and haphazard in its character. 

Sometimes the veteran received his pay and his 
outfit, and was left to settle wherever he could find un- 
occupied land — * vacantes terrce ' — to his mind. Under 
the later empire, owing to the constant ravages of 
German tribes, there was no lack of land ready for 
cultivators, without the appHance of the red-tape 
rules of the Agrimensores. The veterans settled 
upon this and occupied it pretty much as they liked, 
taking what they wanted according to their present 
or prospective means of cultivating it. Lands thus holdings, 
taken were called ' agri occupatoriiy and were irre- 

^ Mr. Coote has pointed out 
many remains of this centmiation 
in Britain; and the inscriptions 

on many centurial stones are giTen 
in Hubner'9 collection. 


The Roman Land System. 

^AP. gular in their boundaries and divisions, instead of 

1 being divided into the rectangular centurice} 

It is to these more irregular occupations of terri- 
tory that the chief interest attaches. 
Outfit of When, under the later empire, veterans were 

^of two allowed to settle upon * vacantes terrce^ they had 
^°*^ assigned to them an outfit of oxen and seed closely 
resembling the Saxon * setene ' and the Northumbrian 
* stuht.' 

Those of the upper grade, whether so considered 
from military rank or special service rendered by 
them to the State, were provided, according to the 
edicts of A.D. 320 and 364, with an outfit oi two pairs 
of oxen and 100 modii of each of two kinds of 
seed. Those of lower rank received as outfit one pair 
of oxen and fifty modii of each of the two kinds of 
seed.^ And the land they cultivated with these 
single or double yokes of oxen was perhaps called 
their single or double ^w^wm. Cicero, in his oration 

Single or 

^ Siculus Flaccufl, Lachmann 
and Kudorff, i. pp. ld6-8. 

s Cod. Theod. lib. vii. tat. xz. 
3. A.D. 820. ' Confitantinus ad 
uDiversoBveteranos.' * Let veterans 
according to our command receive 
vacant lands, and hold them <'im- 
munes ^' for ever ; and for the need- 
ful improvement of the country let 
them have also 25 thousand fcUety 
a pair of oxen {Ixmrn qitoque par), 
and 100 modii of different kinds of 
grain, &c. ( fruffwny 

lb. 8. 8. * Valentinianus et Va^ 
lens ad universos provincialns/ a.d. 
S64. 'To all deserving veterans 
we give what dweUing^place {pa^ 
triarn\ they wish, and promise per- 

petual '' immunitj.'* 

' Let them have vacant or other 
lands where they chose, free from 
stipendium and annual " prttatatia" 
Further, we grant them for the cul- 
tivation of these lands both animals 
and seed, so that those who have been 
protectores (body-guards) should re- 
ceive two pairs of oxen {duo houm 
porta) and 100 modii, of each of the 
two kinds of corn (/ni^)^^thers 
after faithful service a single pair of 
oxen {sinf^tda porta bourn) imd 50 
modii of each of the two kinds of 
com, See. If they bring male or 
female slaves on to the land, let 
them possess them " immunes ** for 

The Small Holdings. 275 

against Verres, speaks of the Sicilian peasants as Chap. 

mostly cultivating ' in singulis jugis.' ^ During the L 

later empire the typical holding of land — the hypo- 
thetical unit for purposes of taxation — as we shall Thtj^um. 
see, oame to be the jugunij but the assessment no 
longer always corresponded with the actual holdings. 

But to return to the holding of the Eoman veteran. 
It is not impossible to ascertain roughly its normal 
acreage from the amount of seed allotted in the out- 
fit, as well as from the number of oxen. 

A single pair of oxen was, as we have seen, allotted of about 
under Saxon rules as outfit to the yard-land of J'*"*' 
thirty acres, of which, under the three-field or three- 
course system, ten acres would be in wheat, ten in 
oats or pulse, and ten in fallow. With the single 
pair of oxen was allotted to the veteran fifty modii 
of wheat seed, and fifty of oats or pulse. Five 
modii of wheat seed, according to the Roman writers 
on agriculture, commonly went to the jugerum ; ^ so 
that the veteran with a single yoke of oxen had seed 
for ten jugera of wheat, and thus was apparently as- 
sumed to be able to cultivate, if farming on the 
three-course system, about thirty jugera in all, like 
the holder of the Saxon yard-land. The veteran to 
whoni was assigned the double yoke of four oxen 
and 200 modii of seed — 100 modii of each kind — 
would have about 60 jugera in his double holding. 

Of course, too much stress should not be placed 
upon any close correspondence in the number of 
jugera ; but it is, on the other hand, perfectly natural 

* In Verremy Actio 2, lib. iii. 27. 
' Varro, De Re Hustica, i. 44. 

T 2 

Columella, ii. 9. Ouerardi Irminan, 
i. 1. 


The Roman Land System. 

that, in the theory of these outfits, seed should be 
given for a definite area, and that this should be 
some actual division of the centuria of the Agri- 

Siculus Flaccus, who wrote about a.d. 100, and 
chiefly of Italy, describes how, in the regular allot- 
ments by the Agrimensores, one settler, according to 
his military rank, would receive a single modus, 
another one and a half, and another two modii, 
whilst sometimes a single allotment was given to 
several people jointly. He mentions also that the 
centurice varied in size, being sometimes 200 jugera 
240jQg6ra. and sometimes 240 ; the smaller lots also sometimes 
varying in size, even in the same centuria, according 
to the fertility or otherwise of the land.^ 

All we can say is that the centuria of 240 jugera 
would be divisible into single and double holdings 
of thirty and sixty jugera respectively, just as the 
English double hide of 240 acres, or single hide of 
120 acres, was divisible into yard- lands of thirty 
acres. The centuria of 200 jugera would be divisible 
into holdings of fifty and twenty-five jugera respec- 

Passing from the outfit and the holdings, it may 

200 and 

* SiculuB Flaccus, De Condicio- 
mbu8 Agrorum. Lachmann and 
Rudorfiy L pp. 154-6. 

* In the diviaion of the land 
between the Romans and Visigotha 
the amount allotted 'per tingula 
aratra * was to be 50 aripennes (i.e. 
25 jugera). Lex Viiigothorumt x« 
1, 14 (a.d. 650 or thereabouts). 

The lAher Ccioniarum L de- 
•cribes the * tig&t jugaritu * as 'in 

quinquagenis jugeribus/ the 'ager 
mmtfumtMinzxv.jugeribus.' Lach* 
mann, i. 247. Here we have the 
normal divisions of the centuria of 
200 jugera into holdings of 25 and 
60 jugeia. On the other hand, the 
Lex Thoria,B,o. Ill, fixed dO jugera 
as the largest holding to be recog> 
nised on the public lands. Rudorfi^, 
p. 218 {Coi-p. Jur. Lat. 200, L 14). 

The Small Holdings. 


be asked, what was the system of cultivation ? was it Obat. 

an open field husbandry ? 

It is obvious that formal centuriation in straight 
lines and rectangular divisions, by the AgrimensoreSj 
produced something entirely different from the open Traces of 
field system as we have found it in England. But ^id^^ 
Siculus Flaccus records that in some cases, when JSJ^ewifii. 
vacant districts were occupied by settlers without 
this formal centuriation, as * agri occupatarii ' — the 
settlers taking such tracts of land as they had the 
means or expectation of cultivating — the boundaries 
were irregular, and followed no rules but those of 
common sense and the custom of the country.^ And 
he gives as an instance of such a common-sense rule 
the custom about * mpercilia^ or linchea^ the sloping ^^^^^ 
surface of which, where they formed boundaries 
between the land of two owners, should be kept the 
same number of feet in width, the slope always 
belonging to the upper owner, because otherwise it 
would be in the power of the lower owner, by 
ploughing into the slope, to jeopardise the upper 
owner's land.' This, he says, is the reason of the 
rule that the land of the owner of the upper terrace 
generally descends to the bottom of the slope.* 

Here, in this mention of linches and irregular The hold- 
boundaries, traces seem to turn up of an open-field timeT"*" 
husbandry ; and a few pages further on the same ^^ST^ 
writer makes another observation which shows clearly ^^^ 
that frequently the holding, like the yard-land, was 


* P. 142. ' Quam mazime se- 
cundum coBsuetudioem regionum 
omnia intuenda sunt' 

' P. 143. See also Frontinus. 

p. 43, and Hyginus, p. 116, and p. 
128 on the same point. 
• P. 152. 

278 The Roman Land System. 

Chap, composed of Scattered pieces in open fields, and that 
' this scattered ownership, as in England, was the 
result of an original joint occupation, and probably 
of a system of co-operative ploughing. 

He says ^ that in many districts were to be found 
possessores whose lands were not contiguous, but 
made up of little pieces scattered in different places, 
and intermixed with those of the others, the several 
owners having common rights of way over one 
another's land to their scattered pieces, and also to 
the common woods, in which the vicini only have 
common rights of cutting timber and feeding stock. 

This reference to the common woods and rights 
of way belonging only to the ' vicini ' seems to show 
that the scattering of the pieces in the holdings had 
arisen as in the later open-field system, from an origi- 
nal co-operation of ploughing or other cultivation. 
The re«uit Connecting these statements with the previous 
occnp^ one, that sometimes land was assigned to a number 
of settlers jointly, and that sometimes settlers took 
possession, without centuriation, of so much land as 
they could cultivate, and transferring these same 
methods from Italy, where Flaccus observed them, 
to transalpine provinces, where larger teams were 

^ Siculus Flaccus, Lachmann, ; sumus. Quorundam agri aervitu« 
p. 152. ' Pneterea et in multia tern possessoribus ad paiticulaa auas 


regionibuB comperimus quosdam 
possessores non continuas habere 
terras, sed particulas quasdam in 
diyersis lociSyintervenientibus com- 
plurium possessionibus : propter 
quod etiam complures yicinales 

eundi redeundique prseatant Quo- 
rundam etiam vicinorum aliquaa 
silyas quasi publicas, immo proprias 
quasi yicinorum, esse comperimus, 
nee quemquam in eis cedendi pa&- 
cendique jus habere nisi yicinoe quo- 

▼i» sint, ut unusquisque possit ad rum sint : ad quas itinera sepe, ut 
particulas suas jure pervenire. Sed supra diximus, per alienos agros 
et de yiarum conditionibus locuti dantur.' 

Hie Small Holdings. 


needfiil for ploughing, it would seem that we may c„4p. 
rightly picture bodies of free settlers on the 'ager ^^"' 
publicus' as frequently joining their yokes of oxen 
together to plough their allotments on the open- 
field system. And if this was done by retired 
veterans on public land, they were probably only 
following the common method adopted by the coloni . 
on the villas of the richer Boman landowners in the 
provinces. If they did so, they probably simply 
adopted the custom of the country in which they 
settled, and followed a method common not only to 
Gaul and Germany, but also to Europe and Asia.^ 

Even in the case of the regular centuriation, there The 
was an opportunity^ apparently, for joint occupation, ^^^^ 
and probably often a necessity for joint ploughing. ^^^ 

Hyginus, describing the mode of centuriation, 
speaks first of the two broad roads running north 
and south and east and west ; and then he says the 
* sottes ' were divided, and the names recorded in tens 
{per decurias^ i.e. per homines denos), the subdivision 
among the ten being left till afterwards.* It does 
not follow, perhaps, that the subdivision was always 
made in regular squares. There may sometimes 
have been a common occupation and joint plough- 
ing ; but of this we know nothing. 

The retired veterans were a privileged class, and t**« 
specially exempted from many public burdens ; ^ but privileged 
in other respects there is no reason to suppose that 
in their methods of settlement and agriculture, and 

^ Teams of six and of eight 
oxen in the plough are mentioned 
in the Yedas. ' Alfindisches Leben^ 
H. Zimmer. Berlin, 1879, p. 237. 

* Hyginus, Lachmann and Ra- 
dorff, i. 113. 

' See Codex TTteodosianua, yii. 
tit. XX. 8. 9, A.D. 36di 


80 The Roman Land System. 

^j^- in the size of their holdings proportioned to their 

single or double yokes, they differed from other 

free settlers or ancient original tenants on the ager 
publicus. We may add that, following the usual 
Koman custom, these settlers probably as a rule 
lived in towns and villages, and not on their farms. We 
• may assume that, having single or double yokes of 
oxen and outfits of two kinds of seed, they were 
arable and not pasture farmers, with their home- 
steads in the village and their land in the fields around 
it — in some places under the three-field system, in 
others with a rectangular block of land on which 
they followed the three-course or other rotation of 
crops for themselves. 

Groups of settlers may therefore be regarded as 
sometimes forming something very much like a free 
village community upon the public land of the 
Empire, with no lord over it except the fiscal and 
judicial oflScers of the Emperor. 


{continiced) — ^the LiETi. 

The Laii In the second place, there were settlers of quite 

Jel^jii" another grade — families of the conquered tribes of 
^Tweiah Germany, who were forcibly settled within the limes 
<««y«- of the Roman provinces, in order that they might 
repeople desolated districts or replace the other- 
wise dwindling provincial population — in order that 
they might bear the public burdens and minister to 
the public needs, i.e, till the public land, pay the 

The Small Holdings. 


public tribute, and also provide for the defence of <-'«a'- 
the empire. They formed a semi-servile class, partly — — 
agricultural and partly military ; they furnished corn 
for the granaries and soldiers for the cohorts of the 
empire, and were generally known in later times by 
the name of * Lceti^ or * Liti' ^ They were somewhat 
in the same position as the Welsh * taeoga ' or * aiUta.^ 
They were foreigners, without Boman blood, and 
hence a semi-servile class of occupiers distinct from, 
and without the fuU rights of, Boman citizens* — a 
class, in short, upon whom the full burden of taxation 
and military service could be laid. 

Probably this system had been followed from the ^^^^, 
time of Augustus, as a substitute for the earlier and OermaM. 
more cruel course of sending tens of thousands ol 
vanquished foes to the Boman slave market for sale ; 
but it became a more and more important part of 
the imperial defensive policy of Bome during the 
later empire, as the inroads of barbarians became 
more and more frequent. 

There is clear evidence, from the third century, sjitem of 
of the extension of this kind of colonisation over emigration 
a wide district. It is important to realise both its ^^edSi- 
extent and locality. 

In order fully to comprehend the meaning and 
consequences of this German colonisation of Boman 
provinces, it must be bome in mind that the rich 
lands on the left bank of the Bhine, between the 
Vosges mountains and the river, had been settled 


^ In Cod. Theod. vii. Z2. 8. 10, 
A.D. 369/ laeti ' are mentioDed ; and 
in 8. 12, A.D. 400, < Ifietus Alaman- 
DU8 Sarmata, ▼agu8| yel filius 
veteranii' are moDtioDed together. 

* Compare the Welsh aiUt, or 
aUtud (Saxon aUhud, foreigner), 
and the Aldtones of the Lombardio 
laws, with the Zatu 


The Roman Land System. 



A German 

by Germans before the time of Tacitus. Strabo ^ dis- 
tinctly says that the Suevic tribes, who in his day 
po^B^ dwelt on the east bank of the Rhine, had driven out 

already in 
the Agri 
and in 

the former German inhabitants, and that the latter 
had taken refuge on the west bank. Tacitus de- 
scribes three German tribes as settled in this district 
(now Elsass).* Further, the large extent of country 
to the east of the Rhine, within the Roman lines, 
reaching from Mayence to Regensburg, included in 
the Agri Decumates and the old province of Rhsetia 
{i.e. what is now Baden, Wirtemberg, and Bavaria)» 
had by the third century become filled with strag- 
gling offshoots from various German and mostly 
Suevio tribes who had crossed the * Limes * — a mixed 
population of Hermunduri, Thuringi, Marcomanni, 
and Juthungi, with a sprinkUng of Franks, Vandals, 
Longobards, and Burgundians,— some of them 
friendly, some of them hostile to the empire and 
gradually becoming absorbed in the greater group of 
the ' Alamanni.' 

Further, it should be remembered that in the third 
century offshoots from the Alamanni and the Franks 
attempted to spread themselves over the country on 
the Gallic side of the Rhine, assuming, during 
periods of Roman weakness, a certain independence 
and even over-lordship, so that Probus found sixty 
Thariww, cities under their control. Probus completely re- 
^^^"J duced them once more into obedience, and again 
made the Roman authority supreme over the ' Agri 
Decumates,' and Rhretia as far as the * Limes.' * 

Tlie Ala- 

^ B. iv. c. iii. 8. 4. 

* Oermania, 28. 

* The importance of the Limes 

or PfaMgraben afl markiDg^ the ex- 
tent of Roman rule to the east of 
the Rhine, has recently been fullj 

The SmaU Holdings. 


A few years before, Marcus Antoninus, after he ^^hap. 

had conquered the Marcomanni in this district, had 1 

deported many of them into Britain.^ 

Probus followed his example, and deported also ^<J"^ 
into Britain such of the Burgundians and Vandals tioninBn. 
from the ' Agri Decumates ' as he could secure alive Beigic' 
as prisoners, ' in order that they might be useful as ^^ 
security against revolts in Britain/ * 

He also colonised large numbers of Germans in 9^^, 

. . • . ^^ Belgic 

the Ehine valley (where he introduced, it is said, the Oaui and 
vine culture), and some of them in Belgic Gaul. In vaUey. 
his report to the Senate he described his victory as 
the reconquest of all Germany. He boasted of the 
subjection of the numerous petty kings, and declared 
that the Germans now ploughed, and sowed, and 
fought for the Romans. And, as he himself had de- 
ported Germans into Britain, his words cover the 
British as well as the Gallic and German provinces.^ 
This victory over the Alamannic tribes and colonisa- 
tion of them in Britain and Gaul, by Probus, was in 
A.D. 277. 

Very soon afterwards the same policy was again 
followed in dealing with the Franks, who were plun- 
dering and depopulating the Belgic provinces of Gaul 
further to the north, and ravaging the coasts of Britain. 

realised. See Wilhelm Aniold*8 
Ihutmihe Urzeit, c. iiL *Der 
Pfafdgraben und seine Bedeutung,^ 
See also * AUgemeine Oeschichte in 
EinzeldariteUungen ' (Berlin, 1882), 
Abth. 48, c. viii. And Mr. Hodg- 
kin*8 interesting paper on 'The 
Pfahlgraben^ in Archaologia JEli^ 
ana, pt. 25, vol. ix. new series. 

Newcastle-on-Tyne, 1882. 

^ Gibbon, c. ix., quoting Dioiu 
Cos,, Ixxi. and Izxii. 

3 Zosimus, i. p. 68. Excerpta, 
Mon, Brit, Ixxv. 

* Wietersheim's Oeichichte der 
VoUcerwanderung (Dahn), i. 245* 
Guerards Polypt. d'Irminon, L p. 


The Roman Land System. 




tionf of 





In 286, Carausius, who was put in charge of the 
Boman fleet, and whose business it was to guard the 
GaUic and British shores infested by the Saxons and 
Franks, revolted and proclaimed himself Emperor, 
defending himself successfully against the Emperor 
Maximian, and leaguing himself with the Franks and 
Saxons. In 291, Maximian, after directing his arms 
against the Franks, deported a number of them and 
settled them as Iseti on the vacant lands of the 
Nervii and Treviri, in Belgic Gaul and in the valley 
of the Moselle.^ 

The further steps taken by his co-Caesar Constan- 
tins to put an end to the revolt of Carausius are very 
instructive. He first recovered the haven of Gesori- 
acum (Boulogne), and cut off the connexion of the 
British fleet with Gaul. Then he turned northward 
again upon the districts from whence the Frankish 
and Saxon pirates had been accustomed to make their 
ravages upon Britain and Gaul. They were, as has 
been said, in league with the British usurper, but 
succumbed to the arms of Constantius. The first 
use he made of his victory over them was to repeat 
the poUcy of his predecessors — to deport a great 
multitude into those very Belgic districts which 
they had depopulated by their ravages. This was 
the time when the districts around Amiens and Beau- 
vais, once inhabited by the Bellovaci, and further 
south around Troyes and Langres, where the Tricassi 
and lingones had dwelt, were colonised by Franks, 

* ' Tuo, Maximiane Auguste, nu- 
ta, Neryiorum et Treyeromm arva 
jacentia L«BtuB postliminio restitu- 
tu8 et receptus in leges Francos ex- 

coluit.' Eumen, Panegyr. Cbn- 
ttantio Cos., c. 21. Guerard, L 

The Small Holdings. 


Chamavi, and Frisians ; and Eumenius,^ in his Pane- ^{f- 

gyric, represented them, as Probus had described the 
Alamanni, as now tiUing the fields they had once 
plimdered, and supplying recruits to the Boman 
legions. A ^ pagus Chamavorum ' e2dsted in the ninth 
century in this district, and so bore witness to the 
extent and permanence of this colony of Chamavi^ 
Similar evidence for the other districts, as we 
shall have occasion to see hereafter, is possibly to be 
found in the names of places with a Teutonic termi- 
nation remaining to this day, though the language 
spoken is French. 

A recent German writer, in a sketch of the reign 
of Diocletian, makes the pregnant remark that when 
account is taken of all the masses of Germans thus 
brought into the Roman provinces, partly as colonists 
and partly as soldiers, it becomes clear that the 
northern districts of Gaul were already half German 
before the Prankish invasion. These German settlers 
were valuable at the time as tillers of the land, payers 
of tribute, and as furnishing recruits to the legions ; but 
in history they were more than this, for they were, 
partly against their will, the pioneers of the German 
' Vblkerwanderung'^ 

We have seen that Probus had deported Ala- 
manni into Britain in pursuance of this continuous 

in Britain. 

* Eumen, Paneg. Constaniio, 0. 
Guerard, i 252. 

* ZeuBs, Die DeuUehen unddie 
NaehbarstSmme, pp. 582-4, quotiog 
the wiU of St. Wxdrad, Abbot of 
Flavigny in the eighth centuTj: 
'In pago Commavorum,' 'id pago 
' AmmavtorumJ' In the NotUia 

OccidentiSf cxl., there is mention of 
X^^'from this district — Prafectui 
Latorum Lingonensium, Boeking, 
p. 120. 

' Kaiser DiocUtian und seine 
Zeitf Yon Tbeodor Preusa^ Leip- 
zig, 1869 (pp. 54-5). 


The Roman Land System. 


policy. It is curious to observe that when Constan- 
tius soon after (in a.d. 306) died at York, and Con- 
stantine was proclaimed Emperor in Britain, one of 
his supporters was Crocus or Erocus/ a king of the 
Alamanni, proving that there were Alamannic soldiers 
in Britain under their own king — probably, more 
properly speaking, a sept or clan under its own chief 
— at that date. 

But it was not long before both the Alamanni 
and the Franks again became troublesome in the 
Rhine valley. Under the year 357, in the history of 
Ammianus Marcellinus, there is a vivid description of 
the struggle of Julian to regain from the Alamanni 
the cities on the Lower Rhine which the latter had 
occupied, as in the time of Probus, within the Roman 
province of Lower Germany. After the decisive 
battle of Strasburg, Julian crossed the Rhine at 
Mayence and laid waste the country between the 
Maine and the Rhine, * plundering the wealthy farms 

* of thei^ crops and cattle, and burning to the ground 

* all the houses, which latter in that district were built 

* in the Roman fashion.' ^^ He then restored the 
fortress of Trajan which protected this part of the 

* Limes.' The next year, the Salian Franks having 
taken possession of Toxandria, on the Scheldt, Julian 
pounced down upon them and recovered possession, 
and then set himself * to restore the fortifications of 

* the cities of the Lower Rhine, and to establish afresh 

* the granaries which had been burned^ in which to stow 

' * Quo [Constantio] mortuo, 
eunctis qui ftderunt adniteDtibus, 
sed prsecipue Eroco Alamaimorum 
rege, auxilii f^atia Constantium 
comitato, imperium capit' Man, 

Brit, Ezcerpta. £x Sexti Aiure> 
lii Victoria JSpitome (p. IxxiL). 

^ AmmianuB MarcellinuBy bk. 
xviL c. i. 7. 

The Small Holdings. 



* the com usually imported from Britain.^ ^ This was Chap. 
the occasion on which, according to Zosimus, 800 
vessels, more than mere boats, were employed in 
going backwards and forwards bringing over the 
British corn, thus proving both the extent of British 
agriculture and the close connexion between Britain 

and the province of Lower Germany. 

The aggressions of the Alamanni, however, con- Bneeno- 
tinued, and again we find Ammianus Marcellinus deponed 
describing how, at the close of a campaign, Valen- j^^^"' 
tinian, in a.d. 371, deported into Britain the Buceno- 
bantes, a tribe of the Alamanni from the east banks 
of the Rhine, immediately north of Mayence. He 
made them elect Fraomarius as their chief, and then, 
giving him the rank of a tribune, sent him with his 
tribe of Alamannic soldiers to settle in Britain, as 
probably Crocus or Erocus had been sent before him.* 

This policy of planting colonies of German colo- The policy 
nists — even whole clans under their petty chiefs — in one. and 
the Belgic provinces and Britain, with the double ti^^°" 
object of keeping up the supply of com for the 
empire and soldiers for the legions, was therefore 
steadily adhered to for several generations. And a 
further proof of the extent to which the system 
was carried turns up later in the numerous co- 
horts of Laeti mentioned by Ammianus,* and in the 

* Notittaj * as having been drawn from these colonies 

* Am. Marc. bk. xviii. c. ii. s. 8. 

* Id. xxix. c. iv. 7. 

' Id. bk. XX. c. viii. 13. 

* AmoDg tbe * Prafecti Lato^ 
rum et Gentilium * there is mention 
ot the PraefectuB L»torum Teuton 

nictanoj-vm, Batawrum, FrancO" 
ftim, Lingonetmum, Nerviontmy 
and Lagengium, Notitia Occ. cxL 
Booking, p. 120. See also the valu- 
able annotation ' Dt Ztetis* 65ck* 
iiig, 1044 et seq. 

288 The Roman Land System. 

Chap, and placed as garrisons all over Gaul and Germany, 
— \ but especially on the banks of the Rhine. 

It has been necessary to dwell upon this subject 
because it is needful for the present purpose that it 
should be fully understood that throughout the Ger- 
man provinces of Rhcstia^ the Agri DecumateSj Upper 
and Lower Germany^ in Belgic Gaul^ and in Britain^ 
there were large numbers of Gterman semi-servile 
settlers upon the Ager Puhlicus interspersed among 
the free coloni and veterans ; and that most of the 
settlers, whether free coloni, veterans, or l»ti, were 
engaged in agriculture. Some of them, no doubt, 
especially since the encouragement said to have been 
given by Probus to vine culture, may have occupied 
vineyards in Southern Gaul, or in the valleys of the 
Bhine and its tributaries. 

Lastly, it must also be remembered that there mav 
have been intermixed among the privUeged veteraM 
and the overburdened * laeti,' on the public lands, 
dwindling remains of original Gallic inhabitants, 
and other free coloni or tenants, not privileged like the 
veterans, but subject to the various public burdens. 
Some of these were scarcely to be distinguished, per- 
haps, in point of law and right from the owners of 
villas. They may have been holders of slaves, and have 
had possibly sometimes even free coloni of their own, 
though varying very much in the size of their hold- 
ings, and falling far below the owners of latiftindia in 
social importance. Be this as it may, we shall pre- 
sently find the free class of landholders, whoever 
they might be, sinking steadily into a semi-servile 
condition under the oppression of the Imperial fiscal 
officers and the burden of the taxation and services 

The ' Tributum: 


imposed upon them — ^the tributum and sordida munera ^^ 
— the oppressive exaction of which during the later — — 
empire was forcing them gradually to surrender their 
freedom, and to seek the shelter of a semi-servile posi- 
tion under the patrociniuvi^ sometimes of the fiscal 
oflScer himself, sometimes of the lord of a neighbour- 

ing * villa.' 


Passing now to the system of taxation and forced 
services during the later empire, it will be found to 
be of peculiar importance, not only because of its 
connexion with the growing manorial tendencies, but 
also because the taxation resembled so closely the 
system of * hidation ' prevalent afterwards in Saxon 
England, and some of the forced services actually 
survived in the manorial system. 

The system of taxation was modified by the Em- 
peror Diocletian at the very time when the poUcy of 
forced colonisation described in the last chapter was 
being carried out. 

It was known as the taxation ^jugatione vel capi- '^^^^^ 
tatione' — the tribute or stipendium of so much for mentby 
every jugum or caput. or «^. 

' Jugum ' and * caput ' were names for a hypo- 
theticaDy equal, if not always the same, unit of 

The 'jugum ' was probably originally taken from 
the area which could be cultivated by the single or 
double yoke of oxen allotted to the settler, and may 

> Cod. Theod. viL 6, 8. Fer 
viginti juga teu ct^a canferant 
tfestem. . • 

Id. zL 16, a I^ ctyntibuB 
teujugismis. • • 


The Roman Land System. 


onit of 

have been a single or double one accordingly. But 
a person holding a fraction of a jxigum or caput 
was said to hold only a ^portio,' ^ and paid, in conse- 
quence, a proportion only of the burdens assessed 
upon the whole jugum. 

Now, if the taxation had continued at actually 
so much per yoke of oxen, the system would have 
been simple enough ; and it would be easy to under- 
stand how, whilst the jugum represented the unit of 
taxation for land, the caput might be the unit corre- 
sponding in value with the jugum, but appl3ring to 
other kinds of property, such as slaves and cattle, 
and including the capitation tax levied in respect of 
wives and children. And this, probably, may be 
the meaning of the double nomenclature — jugum vel 
caput At any rate, we know from the Theodosian 
Code, that the members of a veteran's family were 
constituent parts of his * caput.* * 

The subject is obscure, but the reform of Diocletian 
seems to have aimed at an equalisation of the taxation 
according to the value of property. 

This seems to have involved an assessment of 
various kinds of land in hypothetical juga^ of the 
same value (said to be fixed at 2,000 solidi) ; and this 
involved a variation in the acreage of the hypo- 
thetical jugum^ according to the richness or other- 
wse of the land, just as according to Flaccus was 
the case also as regards the actual centuriae and 

In one instance in which the figures have been 

> Cod. Thed. xi. 17, 4. ' Universi 
pro portionesusB possessionisjugatio- 

nis que ad hiec munia coarctentur.' 
« Cod, Theod. lib. vii. tit. xx. 4. 

The * Tributum: 


preserved, viz. for Syria, under the Eastern Empire, Chap. 
the assessment was as follows under the system of 

X and varied 

in area. 

Diocletian : 

Of vine-land • . 5 jugera, or 10 plethra or half-acrea. 

Arable, first class . 20 „ 40 ,, 

Arable, second class 40 „ 80 

Arable, third class . 60 ,, 120 





In the east, therefore, sixty jugera, or 120 Greek 
plethra or half-acres, of ordinary arable land, were 
assessed as 2LJugum. 

This instance makes it clear that while originally 
the actual allotment to a single or double yoke of 
oxen may have been taken as the basis of taxa- 
tion, the 'jugum ' had already become a hypothetical 
unit of assessment^ just as, by a similar process, 
was the case with the English hide. PJroperty had 
come to be assessed at so many juga under the 
jtigation^ without any attempt to make the assessment 
accord with the actual number of yokes employed. 

The assessment was revised every fifteen years at '^^^ 
what was called the Indiction} 

We have seen that the nominal acreage of the 
typical holding assigned to the single yoke of two 
oxen under Roman law on the Continent resembled 
very closely that of the Saxon yard-land, which also 
had two oxen allotted with it.® 

^ See Syriech'JRdmuches RechUh 
■buch au$ dem Funften JaJirhundert 
^Bruns und Sachau), Leipzig, 1880, 
p. 87; and Marquardts Staatsver- 
waltung, ii. 220. See also Hy- 
rginus, De Limitibus CoruiituendiSy 
i^cIimaDn, &c., p. 205, wbere there 

is mention of * arvum primum^ 
cundum,^ &c., in Fannania. 

« Marquardt, ii. 237. 

' Not that the Roman jugeram 
was equal in area to the Saxon acre. 
It was much smaller, and of quite m 
different shape, at least in Italy. 



The Roman Land System. 



Analogy of 

and ceri' 
turia to 

the vard- 
land and 

We have also seen that the twenty-five or thirty 
jugera of the single yoke were probably fixed as an 
eighth of the Boman centuria, as the yard-land was 
the eighth of a double hide. 

The common acreage of the centuria was, as we 
have seen, 200 or 240 jugera. The latter number may 
be the simple result of the use of the long hundred of 
120 ; or it may have resulted, as suggested above, 
from the necessity of making the centuria of the 
free citizen's typical estate divisible into four double 
holdings of CO acres, or eight single holdings of 30 
acres each. 

Be this as it may, the centuria, or typical estate 
of a free citizen in a regularly constructed Eoman 
colony, seems to have stood to the single or double 
holding of the common and often semi-servile settler 
in the same arithmetical relation as the Saxon larger 
hide of 240 acres did to the yard-land.^ 

We have, then, two kinds of holdings : — 

1. The one or more centuricB embraced in the 

The acreage of the jngum no doubt 
varied very much, as did also the 
acreage of the yard-land. 

* It is eyen possible and pro- 
bable that the Gallic coinage in 
Roman times, mentioned in the 
Pauca de Mensuris (Lachmann and 
Kudorfi; p. d7d), ' Juxta Gallos 
vigesima pars unciee denarius est 
• . . duodecies unciaB libram zx. 
solidos contineutem efficiunt, sed 
veteres solidum qui nunc aureus did- 
tur nuncupabant/ — the division of 
the pound of Bilyer into 12 ounces, 
and these into 20 pennyweights — 
witb which we found the Welsh 

tunepound to be connected, may also 
have had something to do with the^ 
contents of the centuria and jugum. 
At all events, the division of the- 
pound into 240 pence was very con- 
veniently arranged for the division 
of a tax imposed upon holdings of 
240 acres, or 120 acres, or 60 acrea^ 
or 30 acres, or the 10 acres in each 
field. In other words, the coinage 
and the land divisions were remark-^ 
ably parallel in their arrangement, 
as we found was also the case with 
the Bcutage of the Hundred Bolls, 
and the scatt penny of the villani 
in the Boldon Book. 

The ' Tributum: 293 

latifundia or villas of the large landowners, which, ^^ 

however, when tilled by their coloni, and not by 

slaves, might well be subdivided into holdings of 
sixty or thirty acres each. 

2. The double and single holdings of the smaller 
settlers on the * ager publicus ' of fifty or sixty and 
twenty-five or thirty acres each. 

And we may conclude that the system of taxation 
called the ^jugatio' was founded upon these facts, 
though in order to equalise its burden the assessment 
of an estate or a territory in juga became, under 
Diocletian, a hypothetical assessment, corresponding 
no longer with the actual number of yokes, just as the 
Saxon hide ad geldam, at the date of the Domesday 
Siu-vey, no longer corresponded with the actual caru- 
cate ad arandum. 

Another resemblance between the Boman juga- 
tion and the Saxon hidage was to be found in the 
method adopted when it became needful to reduce 
the taxation of a district. 

Thus, the land of the ^^ui had been ravaged 
and depopulated. It had paid the tributum on 
32,000 juga ; 7,000 juga were released firom taxa- 
tion. In future it was assessed at 26,000 juga only ; 
and so relief was granted.^ 

Further, as the English manorial lord paid the The tri^ 
hidage for the whole manor, so the lord of the villa, bj^?'* 
under Roman law, paid the tributum not only for his ^^^ ^}^ 

* •; , claimed 

own demesne land, but also for the land of his coloni tribute 
and tenants. Just as the servile tenants of a Saxon tenants, or 
thane were called his ^ gafol gelders^' so the semi- ''*'***'*'* 

^ Eumenius, Pan. Corutaniini, Marquardt, 8. V., IL 222. 

294 The Roman Land System. 

Chap, servile tenants of a Roman lord were called his 


tributarii. In both cases they paid their tribute to 

their lord, whilst the lord paid the imperial tributum 
for himself and for them.^ 
^JjJ^^ In a decree of the year 319, issued by Coastan- 
in Britain, tine to the * Vicar of Britain/ words are used which 
prove that there were coloni and tributarii * on British 

Putting all these things together, the analogy 
between the Roman ^ jugation ' and the later English 
hidage can hardly be regarded as accidental. 

But to return, at present, to the tribute and the 
service due from each jugum or caput 

The tribute was generally paid part in money 

TheRo- and part in produce, and was, in fact, a tax. It 

bntnm' was a Separate thing from the tithe of produce, ren- 

5^^® dered as rent to the State on the tithe-lands of the 

•gafoi/ ^gj^ decumates and of Sicily, though all these variou& 

annual payments in produce may have been confused 

together under the term annonce. The tribute proper 

survived probably, as we shall see, in the later 

manorial * gafoV The iithe^ or other proportion taken 

as rent — for the proportion was not always a tenth * 

— ^more nearly resembled the manorial * gafol-yrth. 

Cod, Theod, lib. zi. tit.i. 14. i Tel territorio conyeniatur. Id enim 
' See also Ammianus, xxviL 8, prohibitum esse manifestum est et 

obeervaiiduin deincep8,quo[d] juxta 
banc nostram provisionem nuUos 
pro alio patiator injuriam. Dat. 
zii. Eal. Dec. Constantiiio A. et 
Ldcinio 0. Ooss. (319). 

^ Hyginufi. Laclimaxm, &c.f L 

7. Coote, 181. 

' Cod, Theod. Ub. zi. tit yu. 2. 
Idem A ad Pacatianum Vicarium 
Britanniarum, Unusquisque de- 
curio pro ea portione conyeniatur, 
in qua yel ipee yel colonus yel tri- 
butarius ejus conyenitur et collif^t ; 
Deque omnino pro alio decurioue 


The ^ Sordida Munera^ 


Lut we are not quite ready yet to trace the actual Chap. 

•^ VIIL 

connexion between these Eoman and later manorial 



In addition to the payments in kind or rents in The 
produce, called annonce^ there were other personal mimwa. 
services demanded from settlers in the provinces. 
They were called ^sordida munera^ and strangely 
resembled the base services of later manorial tenants. 

There is a special title of the * Codex Theodo- 
sianus ' on the * base services ' exacted under Boman 
law ; * so that there is evidence of the very best kind 
as to what they were. 

By an edict of a.d. 328 there was laid upon the 
rectores of provinces the duty of fixing the burden 
of the services according to three grades of holdings ^^J***^ 
— those of the greater, the middle, and the lowest Scddingi. 
class — as well as the obligation of seeing that the 
services were not exacted at unreasonable times, as 
during the collection of crops. Further, the rectores 
were also ordered to record with their own hand 
' what is the service and how to be performed foy 
' every " caput " [or jugum], whether so many angarice 

* or so many operce^ and in what way they are to be 

* rendered for each of the three grades of holdings.'* 

^ Cod» Theod, lib. xi. tit. xvi 
De Extraordmariis sive SordidU 
Mu/neribus, See also Godefroj's 

^ lib. xi. t. xvi. 4. ' Es forma 
eervata, ut primo a potioribus, dein- 

de a mediocribus atque infimis, qu» 
sunt danda, pnsatentur.' 'Manu 
autem sua rectores scribere debe- 
bant, quid opus sit, et in qua ne- 
cessitate, per singula capita, yel 
quantae angariee vel quantao oper», 

296 The Roman Land System. 

^!^- Certain privileged classes were specially exempted 

1 from these ^ base services/ and it happens that edicts 

expressly mentioning Bhaetia specify from what ser- 
vices they shall be exempt, and so reveal in detail 
what the services were. 

The province of Bhastia lay to the south of the 
Boman Lmtes^ and east of the ^ Agri decumates ' of 
Tacitus, whilst also extending into the Alpine valleys 
of the present Graubunden. The chief city in 
North Bhastia, of which we speak (Vindelicia), was 
Augusta Vindelicarum (Augsburg), and Tacitus de- 
scribes the German tribes of the Hermunduri, north 
of the LimeSj as engaged in fiiendly commerce with 
the Bomans, and as having perfectly free access not 
only to the city, but also to the Boman villas 
around it.^ 
What they We havc sccu that in this district south of the 

were in 

Bhtttia. Danube, and in the Agri decumates between the 
Danube and the Bhine, there were large numbers of 
German as well as Boman settlers, occupying land 
probably as free * coloni * and ' laeti,* paying tribute 
to the State, in addition to the usual tenth of the 
produce and personal services, according to their 
grades of holding. Edicts of a.d. 382 and 390^ 
]tepresent the tenants and settlers in this Boman pro- 
vince as liable with others to render, in addition to 
the tithe of the produce in com, &c. {annoncB)^ inter 
aliay the following * base services ' {sordida munera)^ 
viz. : — 

vel qu89 aut in quanto modo prse- l fimos observando.' 
bend® fiint, ut recognovisse le scri- ^ Oermania, xli. 

bant; exactionis, praddicto ordine 
inter ditioiM, mediocres, atque in- 

• Cod, Theod. zi. 16, and la 

The ^ Sordida Munera* 




Supply of 


(1) The * cura poUinis conjiciendij excoctio panisj 
and obsequium pistrini,' i.e. the preparation of flour, 
making of bread, and service at the bakehouse. 

The supply of so many loaves of bread is a very 
common item of the later manorial services every- 

(2) The prcebitio paraveredorum et parangaria- J^^^^^ 
rum. These also were services found surviving, j^^ 
in fact and in name, amongst the later manorial ser- 
vices. The angaricB ^ and the veredi * were carry- 
ing services, with waggons and oxen or with pack- 
horses, on the main public Boman roads. The 
parangaricB and paraveredi were extra carrying 
services off the main road. There is a special title 
of the Codex Theodosianus * De Cursu Publico^ An- 
gariis et Parangariia^ • in which, by various edicts, 
abuses are checked and the services restrained within 
reasonable limits, both as to the weight to be carried 
and the number of oxen or horses required. 

Carrying services also axe famiUar in manorial 
records under the name of ^averagium.* In the 
Hundred Bolls and the Cartularies, and in the 
Domesday Survey, they occur again and again ; and 
in the Anglo-Saxon version of the * Rectitudines^ in 
describing the services of the * geneat * or ' villanus,* 
the Latin words * equitare vel averiare et summagium 

^ From angariiu « Syyapos, a 
xneesenger or courier. The word is 
probably of Persian origin. 

' Nothing mortal travels so fast 
AS these Persian messengers. The 
«ntire plan is a Persian invention. . . 
The Persians give the riding post 
the name of "angarum,*^* — ffero" 

dotuSf bk. viii. 08. 

See also the Ofroptedia, bk. viu« 
c 17, where the origin of the post- 
horse system is ascribed to Gyrus. 

' IVom the Latin veredua, a 

» Cod, Theod. lib. viii. t v. 

298 The Roman Land System. 

Chap, duccre/ are rendered ' jiiban •] auejiian *] IaT>e laban/ 
1 Also, in the record of the services of the Tidenham 

* geneats ' the words run, * ridan^ and averian, and lade 

* Icedany drdfe drifany &c.^ At the same time, on the 
Continent the word * angarice ' became so general a 
manorial phrase as to be almost equivalent to * villein 
services ' of all kinds.* 

The carrying and post-horse services, more strictly 
included in the manorial angarice and averagium^ 
extended over Britain, Gaul, and the German pro- 

(3) The ^obsequia operarum et artijicum diver- 
sorum' — the doing all sorts of services and labour 
when required — like the Saxon * boon-work,' which 
formed so constant a feature of manorial services 
in addition to the gafol and regular week-work. How 
could the words be better translated than in the 
Anglo-Saxon of the Tidenham record — * and sela odra 

^ The ' veredu$* or post-horse, redia (men of the horae-coursey 


from which the paritveredus or 
extra post-horse, sometimes par- 
hippus (all these words occur in the 
Codex Justin, xii. 1. [li.], 2 and 4, 
De Chirsu Publico), may have heen 
equivalent to the later ' averius ' or 

mentioned by Pliny iii. 21 (Dr. 
Quest's Origines CeltiecB, i. 881), 
and compare this word with para- 
veredi. In modem Welsh ' Rhed ' 
«- a running, a course. 

' Compare the careful para- 

' afirus ' by which the averagium graphs on these words in M. 
was performed. Of. * Pcn-hippm \ Guerard's Introduction to the P<*- 
vel Avertarius ' {Cod. Theod. \ lyptique de TAhh6 Irmincn^ pp. 793 
VIII. ▼. xxii.) and see Id. xlvii., i et seq. The sense of the word as 
' avertarius « a horse carrying ! implying a compulsory service is- 
'averta * or saddlebags. Hence, shown in the Vulgate of Matt. y. 4 : 
perhaps, the base Latin avera, \ * Et quicunque te angariaverit mille 
averi€Bf averii, affri, beasts of ' passus : vade cum illo et alia duo.' 
burden, oxen, or fiirm horses, and i The same word is used in Matt, 
the verb ' averiare* (Saxon of xxvii. 82, and Mark xv., where 
10th century ' arffrtVm'), and lastly Simon is compelled to bear the- 
the noun ' averagium ' for the cross, 
service. See also the Gallic Ep^v 

The ' Sordida Munera/ '299 

\mg2L d6n/ ' and shall do other things,' qualified by the ^p. 
previous words, ' swA him man byt,' ^ as he is bid ' ? ^ 1 

(4) The ' obsequium coquendce calcis ' — ^lime-burn- ^j^e 
ing. This was one of the specially mentioned ser- ^"^'°«- 
vices of the servi of the Church in Frankish times, 
under the Bavarian laws, in this very district of 
Rhastia, as we shall see by-and-by. 

(5) The prcebitio matericBj lignorum, et tabulorum ; Bunding. 
cura publicarum vel sacrarum asdium construend- ropportof 
arum atque reparandarum ; cura Iwspitalium donuh J^"*^ 
rum et viarum et pontium ' — the supply of material, ^^s^ 
wood, and boarding for building, repairing, or con- 
structing public and sacred buildings, and the keeping 

up of inns, roads, and bridges. Here we have two 
out of the * three needs ' marking in England the 
higher service of the Saxon thane. 

Such were the chief * sordida munera ' of the 
settlers in Bhastia and other Boman provinces. But 
servile as they were, and like as they were to the 
later manorial services, we must not therefore con- 
clude that the settlers from whom they were due — 
whether German or Boman, in Bomano- German pro- 
vinces — were under Boman law necessarily serfs. They 
were, as we have said, * free coloni ' or ' laeti,' and 
below them were the * servi.' The three grades in 
which they were classed, * ditiores, mediocres, atque 
injimi,' marked gradations of wealth, — probably ac- 
cording to the number of yokes of oxen held, or the 
size of their holdings — ^not necessarily degrees of 

* Supra, p. 164. I * servi JUci* See Decretio ChlO' 

' There were probably servi on tharU regis, iL.D. 611, 66S. Moru 

the 'ager publicus' as there were 
on the Frankish public lands, called 

Oenn, Hist, Legum Sectio, ii. p. 6. 


The Roman Land System, 



taij and 


Having now examined into the character of the 
holdings, tribute, and 'sordida munera' of the 
tenants on what may be called the great provincial 
manor of the Boman emperor, it may perhaps be pos- 
sible to trace some steps in the process by which these 
tenants became in some districts practically serfs on 
the royal villas or manors of the Teutonic conquerors 
of the provinces. 

The beginning of the process can be traced appa- 
rently at work during the later empire. 

'nie German and GaUic provkces had for long 
been considered as in an especial sense Imperial pro- 
vinces, and their * ager publicus ' and tithe-lands had 
become regarded to a great extent as the personal 
domain of the emperors. They were under the 
personal control of his imperial procuratoreSj or 

In fact there had grown up strictly imperial 
classes of military and fiscal officers with local juris- 
diction over larger or smaller areas. There were the 

* duces,' or 'magistri militum,' and *comites/ and 

* vicarii,' * whilst in the lowest rank of ' procuratores,' 
possibly controlling smaller fiscal districts or sub- 

* Compare Dr. J. N. Madvig's 
Die VerfoBmng und Venoakung 
(fes Hdtnischen Staates (Leipzig, 
1882), ii. p. 408. 

' Madvig, iL p. 578 ; and Cod. 
Just. xii. 8-14, and Cad. Theod, 
ziL i. ^. See also the Notitio 
Dignitatum^ passim. 

Manorial Tendencies. 


districts, were the * ducenarii^ and * centenarii'^ They ^J^- 

seem to have combined military, and judicial, and 

fiscal duties with functions belonging to a local poUce. 

Whatever at first the exact position and autho 
rity of these military and fiscal officers of the 
Emperor may have been, there is evidence that they 
easily assumed a kind of manorial lordship over the 
portion of the public domains under their charge in 
two distinct ways. 

In the first place, the * villa * in which a mill- y«" *p^ 
tary or fiscal officer hved was the fiscal centre of a tort of 
his district. He was the *villicus' by whom the thMPduh** 
' annonas,' tribute, and * sordida munera' were exacted. *"^ 
In some instances the services seem to have been ren- 
dered in the form of work on his * villa,* or on the 
villas of * conductores,' by whom the special products 
of some districts were sometimes farmed.* And there 
are passages in the Codes which complain of the 
tendency in these Imperial officers of higher and 
lower rank to oppress those under their jurisdiction, 
even sometimes using their services on their own 
estates, and thus arrogating to themselves almost the 
position of manorial lords, whilst reducing their fiscal 
dependants to the position of semi-servile tenants.' 

^ With regard to the procurar 
tores, ducenaru, and eentenam 
see Madyig, iL p. 411. See also 
Cod. Juit., xiL 20 (De agentiboa 
in rebna), where a certain ' magiater 
officiorum ' is forbidden to haye 
under him more than 48 duoenam 
and 200 centenarii. Also Cod. 
Just, xii. 23 (24). Mr. Coote 
{Romans in England^ p. 817 et 
seq.), identifies the * centenarii' 

with the ' stationarii/ or police of 
the later piCTindal role. Oom- 
pare this with the distinotly police 
dudes of the 'centenarii' cf the 
< Dscretio Clatharii' (iuD. 511-568), 
Mon. Oerm. HUH. — Oapitularia, p. 7. 

* Madyig, ii 482, and the 
authorities there quoted. 

» Cod. Theod., xL tit. 11. L 
' Si quis eorum qui proyindarum 
Beotoribus exequuntur, quique in 


The Roman Land System. 

Take per- 
sons and 

Chap. In the second place, the practice also was com- 
1 plained of by which the fiscal officers, using their in- 
fluence unduly, induced tenants on the public lands 
of their district, and sometimes even whole villages^ to 
place themselves under their ^ patrodnium,* thereby 
under their practically Converting themselves into semi-servile 
^Suum. tenants of a mesne lord who stood between them and 
the emperor.* 

The question would be well worth a more careful 
consideration than can be given here how far these 
tendencies towards the gradual estabhshment under 

diversis agunt officiiB principatuA, 
et qui sub quocumque prsetextu 
munerifi publioi possunt esse terri- 
biles, Tusticsno cuipism necessita- 
tem obsequii, quasi mancipio sui 
juris, imponat, sut servum ejus sut 
bovem in ubus proprios necesatatis- 
queconverterit . . ultimo subjugatur 
exitio.' Quoting the above Le- 
huerou obseryes: — 'Les dues, les 
comtes, les recteurs des proyinces, 
iDstitu^s pour roister aux puis- 
eants et aux forts, n'us^rent plus 
de rautorit^ de leur charge que pour 
se rendre redoutables aux petits 
et aux faibles, et se firent un hon- 
teux revenue de la terreur qu'ils 
r^panduent autour d*eux. Us en- 
levaient sans scrupule, tantdt le 
boeuf, tant6t I'esclave du pauvre, et 
quelquefois le malheureux lui-mSme 
avec sa femme et ses en&nts, pour 
les employer tons ensemble k la 
culture de lexm villa* (p. 140). See 
also Cod. Theod, viii. t. v. 7 and 

* Cod. Theod., i^Mi,2i,De Pa- 
irociniU mcorum. * Qiiicumque ex 
tuo officio, vel ex quocumque ho- 
minum ordine, vicos in suum detect! 

fuerint patrocinlum suscepisse, oon- 
stitutas luent pcsnas. . . . Qoos- 
cumque autem vioos aut defensionii 
potentia, aut multitudine sua fretoa, 
publicb muneribuB constiterit ob- 
viari, ultioni quam ratio ipsa dict»- 
bit, conveniet subjugarL' 

' Oensemus ut qui rusticis pa- 
trocinia prebere temptaverit, cu- 
juslibet iUe fuerit dignitatis, nve 


coMins, sive ex pro-consttUbus, yel 
vicarHs, vel augustaUlms, yel M- 
bunis {C. J. xii. 17, 2), sive ex 
ordine curiali, vel cvjusHbet dUerimg 
dignitatis, quadraginta librarum 
auri se sciat dispendium pro unga- 
lorum fundorum prsebito patroci* 
nio subiturum, nisi ab hac postea 
temeritate discesserit. Omnea ergo 
sciant, non modo eos memorata 
multa ferendos, qui clientelam aus- 
ceperint rusticorum, sed eos quoqne 
qui fraudandorum tributorum cauaa 
ad patrocinia solita fraude confiige- 
rint, duplum definit«e mults dispen- 
dium subituros.' (Dat. vi. Id. Mart. 
Constantinop., Theodoro y. c. Coaa. 
899). See also Lehuei-ou, p. 136- 
139, and Cod. Jiut., xL 64. 

Manorial Tendencies. 


the later empire of a manorial relation between the Chap. 


* coloni ' and * lajti ' on the crown lands, and the fiscal 

officer of the district in which they lived, were the 
beginnings of a process which ended in the division of 

the crown lands practically into ' villae/ or districts 
appendant to the villa of the fiscal officer, which in 
their turn may have been the prototypes of the villas 
or manors on the * terra regis ' of Frankish and Saxon 

As we have said, the use of the word ' villa ' FranMBh 
in the Salic laws and early capitularies, for the rom 
smallest general territorial unit as well as for the in™ rat* 

* villa ' of a private lord, would thus perhaps be most ®' ^f»<*^ 
easily accounted for. And possibly the continuity 
which such a result would indicate between Boman 

and Frankish institutions might, after all, be confirmed 
by the seeming continuity, in name at least, between 
the fiscal officers of the later empire and those of the 
Salic and Ripuarian, and other early barbarian codes. 
The appearance of the dux and the comes and the 
centenarius in these codes, and in the early capitularies, 
as the military, fiscal and judicial officers of the Frank- 
ish kings, is at least suggestive of continuity in fiscal 
and judicial arrangements, though of course it does 
not follow that many German elements may not have 
been directly imported into institutions which, even 
under the later Eoman rule in the Eomano-German 
provinces, already indirectly and to some extent were 

' Madvig, ii. 432. ' Wie laiige 
die Ackersleute auf den Kaiser- 
ichenGrundstucken {Colfnti Casaris 
Dig. vi. 6, s. 11, i. 10, 3) eine 
grosisere personliche Freiheit be- 

wabrten, iind seit welcher Zeit dai 
Bpiitere Kolonatsverhaltniss gait, 
lasst eich nicht bestimmen, da der 
Uebergang schrittweise vor sich 

304 The Roman Land System. 

Chap, no doubt the compound product of both Boman and 

Gterman ingredients.^ 

The settlement of these difficult points perhaps 

belongs to constitutional rather than to economic 


The pn>- Having noticed the evident tendencies of the fiscal 

oommoi- district of the later empire to approach the manorial 

^^^ ^ type, and to become a crown villa or manor with 

commenced •'^ ' 

under dependent holdings upon it, we must pass on to 
rule. a further important effect of the oppression of 
the imperial officers. We have noticed the edicts 
intended to prevent the tenants on the imperial 
domain from putting themselves under their direct 
* patrocinium/ These edicts did not prevent the over- 
burdened and oppressed tenant from putting himself 
under the * patrocinium ' of the lord of a neighbour- 
ing villa, thereby becoming his semi-servile tenant, in 
order to escape from the cruel exactions of the tax- 

This process was called * commendation,' and it 
was carried out on a remarkable scale. It consisted 
in the surrender by the smaller tenants on the public 
lands of themselves and their property to some richer 
landowner; so parting with their inheritance and 
their freedom whilst receiving back a mere occu- 
pation of their holding by way of usufruct only as a 
' prcecarium^ or for life, as a servile tenement, paying 

1 In the lUpuarian Laws, tit li. 
(63) * Grafio ' « 'comes * - * judex fi- 
scalisj and tlie iiui//u« was sometimes 
held 'ante centenarium vel oomi- 
tem, aeu ante Ducem Patricium vel 
Regem/ tit. 1. (52). So in the Salic 
Lams, tit. Izxy. ' dehet judex, hoc 
eat, comes aut grafio,' &c.| but this 

occurs in one of the additions to the 
' Lex Antiqua,^ Compare the ' cen- 
tenarius' in his relation to his 
superior, the 'comes,' and in his 
position of 'judex' in the mallus 
with the * centenarius ' under Cod. 
Just,, vii. 20, 4. 

Manorial Tendencies. 806 

to their lord the fixed census or * gafol * of the servile Chap. 

By this process they rapidly swelled the number ^J^^ 
of servile tenants on villas of the manorial type, and <m ma- 
hastened the growing prevalence of the manorial tendencies 

This process of commendation was nothing new. ^5^' 
It was an old tribal practice at work long before ^wfy 
Koman times in Gaul, and destined not only to outlast 
the Roman rule, but also to receive a fresh impulse 
afterwards from the German invasions. And as its 
progress can be traced step by step from Boman 
times, through the period of conquest into the times 
of settled Frankish rule, and its history is closely 
mixed up with the history of the growth of the 
Boman villa into the medisBval manor, and with the 
change of the * sordida munera ' from public burdens 
into manorial services, it presents useful stepping- 
stones over a gulf not otherwise to be easily crossed 
with security. 

CsBsar describes how in Gaul, even before the Cbenr. 
Roman conquest, the free tribesmen, overburdened to wT^er. 
by the exactions of chieftains and the tributes imposed J^SSm of* 
upon them (probably by way of * gwestva * or food- •«5ap« 
rents), surrendered their freedom, and became little oppreMion. 
more than ^ servi ' of the chiefs. And so far had this 
practice proceeded that he describes the people of 
Gaul as practically divided into two classes — the 
chiefs, whom he likened to the Roman * equites ; ' 

^ M. Lehoerou ol)eerye8| ' II y a 
ddj& des deigneur$f cachte encore 
80U8 Tancienne et fsmilidre d^nomi* 
nation de patroru, Oela est ii yrai 

que, non settlement la chose, mais 
le mot se trouye dans libanius : — 
Hcpi Ttf y vpotrrairtiip tttn laifuu fi€' 
yakaif iroXXtf y iitdaTfi df oirortf y. 


The Roman Land System. 




and the common people, who were in a position little 
removed from slavery.^ 

Further, there is the evidence of Tacitus himself 
that oppressive Boman exactions were forcing free 
tribesmen, even in Frisia^ to surrender their lands 
and their children into a condition of servitude.* 

Again, Gregory of Tours® describes how, in a 
year of famine, the poor surrendered their freedom — 
subdebantae sermtio — to escape starvation. 

^ De Betto OaBico, vi. c xiii.- 
XY. ' In omni Gkdlift eorum homi- 
num qui aliquo sunt numero atque 
honore genera sunt duo. Nam 
plebee poane servorum habetur loco, 
qu» per se nihil audet et nulli ad- 
hibetur consilio. Plerique, quum 
aut »re alieno aut magnitudine tri* 
butorum aut injuria potentiorum 
premuntur, seee in servitutem di- 
cant nobilibus. In hoe eadem 
omnia sunt jura quae dominis in 
fiervos. . . . Alteram genua est 
Eguitum. Hi, quum est usus, atque 
aliquod helium incidit (quod ante 
CflBsaris adventum fere quotannis 
aocidere soiebat, uti aut ipsi injurias 
inferrent aut illatas propulsarent), 
onmes in hello versantur: atque 
eorum ut quisque est genere copiis- 
que amplissimus^ ita plurimos dr- 
cum se ambactos clientesque habet. 
Hanc unam gratiam potentiamque 

« Tacitus, Armahf iv. 72. « In 
the course of the year the Frisians, 
a people dwelling beyond the 
Rhine, broke out into open acts of 
hostility. The cause of the insur- 
rection was not the restless spirit 
of a nation impatient of the yoke i 

they were driven to despair by 
Roman avarice. A moderate tri* 
bute, such as suited the poverty of 
the people, consisting of raw hides 
for the use of the legions, had been 
formerly imposed by Drusus. To 
specify the exact size and quality 
of the hide was an idea that never 
entered into the head of any num 
till Olennius, the first centurion of 
a legion, being appointed governor 
over the Frisians, collected a quan- 
tity of the hides of forest bulls, and 
made them the standard both of 
weight and dimensions. To any 
other nation this would have been 
a grievous burden, but was alto- 
gether impracticable in Germany, 
where the cattle running wild in 
large tracts of forest are of prodi- 
gious size, while the breed for do- 
mestic uses is remarkably small. 
The Frisians groaned under this 
oppressive demand. They gave up 
first their cattle, next their lands ; 
and finally were obliged to see their 
wives and children carried into 
slavery by way of commutation. 
Discontent arose, and they rebelled,^ 

* Hut., f. 869. 

Manorial Tendencies. 307 

Lastly, in the fifth century (a.d. 450-90) Salvian * Cha». 

describes at great length the process by which Roman 

freemen were in the practice of surrendering their ^^J, 
possessions to great men and becoming tributary to ^™ 
them, in order to escape the exactions of the officers centiuy. 
who collected the * tributum.' He narrates how 
the rich Romans threw upon the poor the weight 
of the public tribute, and made extra exactions of 
their own ; how multitudes in consequence deserted 
their property and became bagaudoe — ^rebels and out- 
laws ; — ^how, in districts conquered by the Franks and 
Ooths, there was no such oppression ; how Romans 
Uving m these districts had their rights respected ; 
how people even fled for safety and freedom from the 
districts still under Roman rule into these Teutonic 
districts ; and he expresses his wonder why more did 
not do this. 

Many (he says) would fly from the Roman districts 
if they could carry their properties and houses and 
families with them. As they cannot do this (he goes ^« ^^^ 

•' ^ ^ ot Barren- 

on to say), they surrender themselves to the care and dew to na 
protection of great men, becoming their deditidi or ''"''"^ 
fiemi-servile tenants. And the rich (he complains) 
receive them under their ' patrocinium ' or overlord- 
ship, not from motives of charity, but for gain : for they 
require them to surrender almost all their substance, 
temporary possession only being allowed to the parent 
making the surrender during his life^ while the heirs 
lose their inheritance. And this (he adds) is not all. 

^ Salvian, De Gvheimatione Dei, 
ib. V. 8. vi.-viii. 

' ' Hoc enim pacto aliquid paren- 

tibus temporarie attribuitur, ut in 
futuro totum liliia auferatur' — 
Salvian, s. viiL 


308 'Fhe Roman Land System. 

Chap. The poor wretches who have surrendered their pro* 

perty are compelled nevertheless to pay tribute for it 

to these lords, as if it were still their own. Better is the 
lot of those who, deserting their property altogether, 
hire farms under great men, and so become the free 
coloni of the rich. For these others not only lose 
their property and their status, and everything that 
they can call their own ; they lose also themselves and 
their liberty.^ 

This evidence of Salvian proves that the surrender 
by freemen of themselves and their property to an 
overlord was rapidly going on in Roman provinces 
during the fifth century, and this as the result of 
Boman misrule, not of German conquest. 



From the evidence of Salvian we can pass at once, 
crossing the gulf of Teutonic conquest, to that of 
the Alamannic and Bavarian laws and the monastic 
cartularies, in which we shall find the process de> 
scribed by Salvian still going on under Oerman rule, 
and thereby holding after holding, which had once 
been free, falling under the manorial lordship of the 

^ The aboTO is only an abridged 
sommarj of the lengthy declama> 
tion of Salvian. See Gregory of 
Touts, ' De Miraculu S, Martinif* 
IT. id, (1122)| where a surrender b 
mentioned. 'Tradidit ei omnem 

possessionein suam, dicens: ^Sint 
hec omnia penes S^ Martini ditio- 
nem qu» habere Tideor, et hoc tan- 
turn exinde utar, ut de his dum 
vixero alar.*' ' 



Semi-Servile Holdings. 


But before we do so it may be worth while to Chap. 


inquire further into the position, under Boman rule, 

of the class of semi-servile tenants into which a free 
possessor of land descended when he made the sur- 
render of his holding. We may ask, What was the 
rule of succession to semi-servile holdings ? and what 
were the customary methods of cultivation followed 
by semi-servile tenants, whether upon the villa of a 
lord or upon the imperial domains ? 

Salvian distinctly states, as we have seen, that Themie 
upon the death of the person making the surrender ^^^iJ>n 
to a lord, the right of inheritance was lost to his J^^JJ^*^* 
children. The holding became, on the surrender, a 

* praecarium *— a tenancy at the will of the lord by 
way of usufruct only. This being so, any actual 
succession to the holding must naturally have been, 
not by inheritance, but, in theory at all events, by 
regrant from the lord to the successor — generally a 
single successor — for, under the circumstances, the 
rule of single succession would be likely to be adopted 
as most convenient to the landlord. 

The tenants produced by commendation were, 
however, hardly a class by themselves. They most 
likely sank into the ordinary condition of the large 
class of * coloni,* &c., on the great provincial estates. 
And there is a passage in the ^ Institutes of Justinian ' 
which incidentally seems to imply that the ordinary xheiater 

* colonus ' of the later empire was very nearly in the f°^^^ 
position of the * usufructuarius,' and held a holding t^'"^ 
which, in legal theory at least, ended with his life.^ 

' lib. ii. Tit. i. 86. ' Is ad quern 
fisusfructus fundi pertinet, non 
uliter fructuum dominus effidtur. 

quam si ipse eos perceperit ; et ideo, 
licet maturis firactibus nondom 
tamen peroeptis decesserit, ad here- 

IrlO The Roman Land System. 

^^' And if this was the generally received theory of the 

status of semi-servile tenants on the great estates, the 

probability is that the practice of single succession by 
regrant may have followed as a matter of conveni- 
ence and as an all but imiversal usage. 

Further, if we may suppose this to have been the 
case on the private estates of provincial landowners, 
the question remains whether the semi-servile classes 
of tenants on the imperial domains may not have 
been subject to the same customary rules. 
Tenants on Now it must be remembered that the legal theory 
E^^in as regards that part of the provincial land which was 
^«>«7 not centuriated and allotted to the soldiers of the 
tuariL' conquering Boman army as a ^ colonia,' but left in 
the possession of the old barbarian inhabitants, was 
that the latter were merely usufructuary tenants, 
paying tribute for the use of the land which belonged 
now to the conquerors.^ And although qtuzsi-iights 
of inheritance, founded perhaps more upon barbarian 
usage than direct Boman law, probably grew up 
generally in the more settled districts of Gaul and the 
two Germanics, yet there may well have been grades 
of tenants, some with rights of inheritance and some 
without them. It may well be questioned whether, 
in the case of the ' Iseti ' and other semi-servile tenants, 
hereditary rights were generally recognised. If we 
take into account the tendency we have noticed in 
the management of the provincial domains towards 
manorial methods and usages, it seems at least pro- 
bable that the semi-servile classes of tenants imder 

dem ejus non pertinent, sed domino I fere ^de coUmo dicuntur* 
proprietatiB adquiruntur. Eadem \ ^ Rudorff, ii. S17. 

Semi-servile Holdings. 311 

the imperial military and fiscal officers were placed Chap. 

much in the same position as the coloni on private 

villas ; that, in fact, their tenure was only a usufruct preyaience 
for life or at will — a tenure to which, by custom, ^^mS*^ 
the single succession would be a natural incident. •uocessioD 

Passing now specially to the tenants on the * Agri The 
Decumates ' and other tithe lands north of the Alps, ^^'iJJJIJ 
and asking what were their rules of succession and ti»orof«J7«« 

•I 1 1 m • 1 *** existing 

methods of husbandry, perhaps sufficient stress has usages, 
not always been laid upon the elasticity with which 
Roman provincial management adopted local customs 
and adapted itself to the local circumstances of a 
widely extended empire. We know little of the 
methods and rules adopted in the management of the 
* tithe lands,' but if the foregoing considerations be 
sound, it may be that but little change was needful 
to convert their tenants into serfs on a manorial estate 
They may have had but little to gain or to lose, or 
even to alter in their habits, in exchanging the rule 
of the imperial fiscal officers for the lordship of the 
later manorial lord. 

It is much to be hoped that more light may ere Manage 
long be thrown upon this obscure subject by students ^^^ ^ 
of provincial law and the barbarian codes. In the jjj^*^ 
meantime it may be possible, perhaps — so slowly do Eastern 
things change in the East — ^that an actual modem ***"^ 
example taken from thence of the customary mode of 
managing public tithe lands at the present moment 
in what was once a Boman province might be a better 
guide to a correct conception of what went on 1,500 
years ago on the ' Agri Decumates * than we could 
easily get in any other way. 

The Eoman province of Syria is peculiarly in- 

312 The Roman Land System. 

oh^. teresting, because the Koman code^ applying to it 

in the fifth century happens to remain, and to afford 

^e^fian ij^t^p^gting evidence of adaptation to local customs in 

^^^^ a district unique in the advantage that its usages, little 

altered by the lapse of time, can be studied as well 

in the parables of the New Testament as on its 

actual fields to-day. 

The Sir Henry S. Maine ^ has recently referred to the 

their in parable of the * Prodigal Son* as illustrating the 

mB"i2ria custom Still foUowed in Turkey of sons taking their 

^2^**° portions during the parent's lifetime, leaving one 

home-staying son to become the single successor to 

the remainder, including the family homestead and 


The Syrian code,® following Eonian Law,* insisted 
upon three-twelfths of a man's property going to his 
children equally, and left him at Uberty to dispose of 
the remaining nine-twelfths among them at his plea- 
sure. But an emancipated son had no claim to a 
share in the fAr^^-twelfths.* These local or Boman 
usages have an interesting connexion with the per- 
mission which, as we shall see in the next section, was 
given by the Bavarian code of the seventh century, 
to free possessors of land * after they had made division 
with their sons ' to surrender their * own portion^ by 
way of commendation, to the Church.* 

* Sf/risch^Roniischea JRechUbttch, 
Au8 dem fUnften Jahrhundert 
Leipzig, 1880. 

' Early Law and Cu8tofnif^,2QO, 

* S. 1, 8. 9, and s. 27. 

^ Inst, Jtut, iL XTiii. 58, and 
compare Sandars* note on this paa* 

• Syrian Code, 8. 8. 

* See also Lex Burgundiarum, 
i. 2, < Si cum filiis deviserit et por> 
tionem suam tiderit, . . .' and id. 
zxiv. 5 and li. 1 and 2. Also 
* Urkunden ' of St. QaU, No. 860. 
' Quicquid contra filios meos in por- 

^fi)^* tionem et in meam swaacaram 

Semi-Servile Holdings. 


It is remarkable that, to the present day, in those Chap. 

districts of Bavaria where the Code Napoleon has 1 

not superseded ancient custom and law, the * Pflicht- 
theil ' of not less than one-half or one-third, as fixed 
by the later Boman law, still remains inalienable from 
the heirs, whilst a custom for the father to hand over 
the whole or a part of the family holding to a son 
during his lifetime also occurs.^ 

These coincidences between customs of Syria and 
Bavaria — both once Eoman provinces — prefer to land 
of inheritance. But there were also in Syria as 
elsewhere in the fifth century, between the freeholders 
and the slaves, a class of semi-servile tenants — 
adscriptitii — who were, in a sense, the property of a 
lord.* And besides these, again, from the time of 
the New Testament ® to the present, there have been 
tenants paying a tithe or other portion of the pro- 
duce in return for a usufruct only of public or 
private lands. 

There is no direct reference to public tithe lands 
in the Syrian code, but the following description 
of present customs as regards such liands may be 
valuable in the absence of earlier evidence. It de- 
scribes the tenants of the Crown tithe lands in 
Palestine as having only a usufruct, expiring at their 
death, and as conducting their husbandry upon an 
open-field system, which being so widely spread is no 
doubt very ancient, and likely enough to resemble 

accepi.' See also Sir H. Maine't 
Ancient Law, pp. 198, 224, 228. 

* Reports on Tenure of Land, 
1868^70, p. 226. Just. Not. la 

^ See Syrian Code, s. 60. 
* See tlie parable of ' The unjust 
steward/ and wpra, p. 145. 


The Roman Land System. 

Chap, more or less closely local methods followed on the 


Land ays- 
tern in 

Unde let to 
under the 

* Agri Deoumates ' under Eoman rule.^ 

Land tenure in Palestine is of three kinds :— 

I. Ard niiri,* or taxed Grown land. 

In this class are included nearly all the large and fruitfol plains like 
those of Jaffa, Ramleh, and Esdraelon. These lands are leased by the 
Gk>yemment to various individuals, or aametimes to a whole vUlage. The 
lessee pays a tenth of the produce of the soil for his right of cultivation. 
Miri land, therefore, cannot he sold by the lessee, nor has he the power to 
transfer it ; he merely possesses the right of ciiltivation for a given time, 
and this only holds good during the lifetime of the lessee. In the event of 
his death, the contract he has made becomes null and void, even though 
its term be not expired. 

II. Ard wakuff or glebe-land. . • • 

ni. Ard muik, or freehold, is chiefly composed of small pieces of 
ground in the neighbourhood of the villages, such as fig and olive planta* 
tions, gardens, and vineyards. . . . 

It has been already mentioned that by far the greater part of the 
cultivated land is not private, but (Government property, either mtrt or 
wakuf, and that the cultivator is merely the holder. Each district has 
certain tracts of such lands, and after the rains they are let to the different 
inhabitants in separate plots. The division is decided by lottery. Herr 
Schick has given an account of the manner in which this lottery takes 
place. All those who are desirous of land assemble in the saha (an open 
^ace generally in front of the inns). The Imam, or khatib, who is writer^ 
accountant, and general archivist to the whole viUage, presides over this 
meeting. The would-be cidtivators notify how many ploughs they can 
muster. If a man has only a half-share in one, he joins another man with 
a like share. Then the whole number is divided into classes. Supposing^ 
the total number of ploughs to be forty, these would be divided into four 
classes of ten, and each class would dioose a Sheikh to represent them. 
The land of course varies in quality, and this dividon into classes makes 
the distribution simpler. Say there are four classes, the land b divided 
into four equal portions, so that each class may have good as well as bad. 
When the Sheildis have agreed that the division is fair, the lots are drawn. 
Each of the Sheikhs puts some little thing into the khatib^a bag. Then the 
khatib calls out the name of one of the divisions, and some passing child is 

^ Journal of the Palestine Ex- 
ploration Society, January 1888. 
* Life, Habits, and Customs of the 
Fellahin of Palestine,' by the Bev. 
F. A.. Klein. From the Zeitechrift 

of the German Palestine Explore- 
tion Society. 

' Shortened form of oTii «mtirt — 
land of the Emir. 

Semi-eervile Holdings. 


made to draw out one of the things from the bag, and to whicheyer Sheikh 
it belongs, to this class belongs the division named by the khatib. This 
decided, the Sheikhs have to determine the indiTidual distributbn of the 
land. In the case of ten ploughs to a dass, they do not eooA receive a 
tenth piece of the whole, but, in order to make it as fair a$ poeeibief the 
land ie divided into ttripB, eo that each portion eoneiste of a collection of 
etrips in different parte of the milage lands. The boimdaries are marked 
hy furrows or stones, and to move a neighbour's landmark is still accounted 
an ' accursed deed,' as in the days of ancient Israel (Deut. zix. 4). • • . 

The measure by which the Fellahin divide their land is thefedddn. It 
is decided by the amount which a man with a yoke of oxen can plough per 
day, and is therefore a most uncertain meauure. 


This description of the mode in which public Was it so 
land in Palestine is often let to individual tenants or Roman 
to whole villages at a rent of a tenth of the produce, f^ f 
and further, the picture it gives of the cultivation of 
the land let to a village by those villagers who supply 
oxen for the ploughing on an open-field system so 
like that of Western Europe, at least may suggest the 
possibility of a somewhat similar system having been 
adopted in the management of the tithe lands of the 
' Agri Decumates.' 

The allusion to the division of the fields into 
strips, and to the unit of land measurement being the 
day's work of a pair of oxen, and, we may add, the 
use of the same unit of measurement throughout 
the Turkish Empire,^ may at least prepare us to find 

^ The standard measure of land 
throughout the Turkish Empire is 
called a deunum^ and is the area 
which one pair of oxen can plough 
in a angle day ; it is equal to a 
quarter of an acre, or a square of 
forty arshuns (nearly 100 feet). 
There seems to be but one allusion 
to this fact in the Scriptures ; it is 

found in 1 Sam. ziy. 14, where the 
exploit of Jonathan and his armour- 
bearer is described: twenty of the 
enemy are stated to hare fallen 
within a space of *a half -acre of 
land* of 'a yoke of oxen,^ an. ex- 
pression better rendered 'within 
the space of half a deunum of land.* 
This measure ia referred to in 


The Roman Land System. 

Chap, indications of a somewhat similar system of cultiva- 

VIII. , 

L tion on the tithe lands on the Danube and the Bhine 

when we come to examine their conditions under the 
early Alamannic and Bavarian laws. 

And, lastly, this Eastern illustration of the modem 
management of ^ tithe lands ' may help us to give due 
weight to the suggestion of Sir H. S. Maine ^ that 
not only on the *ager publicus,' but even on the 
Eoman provincial villa itself, in the organisation of 
the mostly barbarian and servile tenants, and of 
the husbandry, many features may well have been 
borrowed from ordinary and wide-spread customs of 
barbarian communities, thus partially explaining 
what must again and again strike us in this investi- 
gation, viz., the ease with which Eoman and bar- 
barian elements combined during the later Boman 
rule of the provinces and afterwards in producing a 
complex and joint result — the typical manorial estate. 


Law« of The Alamannic conquest of the province of Ger- 

Aiamanni, mania Prima^ including what is now Elsass and the 
4.D. 622. ^esteiTi p3jt Qf t]jg < ^gri Decumates,* may be de- 
scribed as almost a passive one. The population had 
long been partly Geiman, and Boman provincial usages 
can hardly have been altogether supplanted in the fifth 
century. It was not till the Alamanni were themselves 

ancient profane writers, so that no 
change has occurred in this respect. 
Van Lenner's Bible Custonu in 

Bible Landf, i. 75. 

^ Early Law and Custom, ft 

Growth of the Manor. 


conquered by the Franks (who had in the meantime Okap. 
become nominally Christian) that their laws were 

codified. When this took place in the year 622 it was 
with special reference to the interests of the Church 
that the laws were framed, just as in the case of the 
first codification of Anglo-Saxon laws on King Ethel- 
bert becoming a Christian. 

The very first provision of the Alamannic laws PemiMioi 
was a direct permission to any freeman, without dartoX 
hindrance from * Dux ' or * Comes/ to surrender his ^"^ 
property and himself to the Church by charter exe- 
cuted before six or seven witnesses ; and it provided 
further that if he should surrender his land, to re- 
ceive the usufruct of it back again during life as a 
benefice charged with a certain tribute or census, 
his heir should not dispute the surrender.^ 

In the Bavarian laws of slightly later date there 
is a similar permission to any freeman, from his own 
share^ after he has made division mth his sons, to 
surrender to the Church viUaSj landsy slaves^ or other 
property, to be received back as a beneficium in the 
same way,* and neither * rex,' * dux,' nor * any other 
person ' is to prevent it. 

' Lex Aknnannorum OhlothariL 
] . 'Ut 81. quia liber restuas Yd semet- 
ipeum ad ecdeeiain tradeie vda- 
erit, Dulliis habeat lioeotiain oon- 
tradicere ei, non dux, non oomee, nee 
uUa persona, aed spontanea yolim- 
tate liceat ehrisdano honune Deo 
serrire et deproprias ree aoaa aemet- 
ipeum redemere. . . • 

2. Si quia liber, qtii xea soaa ad 
eocleaiam dederit et per cartam firmi- 
tatexn fecerit, sicut supexiua dictum 

est, et post h»c ad pastorem eodesiaa 
ad benefidmn soaoeperitadTietua- 
lem neoeesitatein oonquiiendamdi^ 
bus Titn au» : et quod apondit per- 
aolvat ad ecdesiam cenaum de ilia 
terra, et hoc per epistulam firmitatia 
fiat, ut poet cjva disceaaam nnllus 
de heredibua non contradicat.'— 
Perti, Legum, t. iii. pp. 46-6. 

' Lex Bahttoariorum. Textua 
L^gia primus. 

L 'Ut ai quia liber pexaona 


The Roman Land System. 

^"^. Who are the people thus permitted to surrender 

1 their possessions to the Church ? Clearly they are 

the free possessores or tenants on the public lands, 
now become * terra regis,' under the fiscal officers who 
are still called ditces and comites. 

Here, then, is still going on, but in the interest of 
the Church, precisely the process described by Sal- 
vian, and with precisely the same results. 

Further, these results can be traced with remark- 
able exactness ; for in the charters of St Gall and 
Lorsch and Wizenburg there are numerous instances 
of surrenders made under this law. 
iDsUDcei In the * Urkundenbuch' of the Abbey of St. Gall, 

der in the Under date A.D. 754,^ there is a charter by which a 
dmrters. possessor of land in certain * villas * in the neighbour- 
hood of St. Gall hands over to the monastery all that 
he possesses therein, with the cattle, slaves, houses, 
fields, woods, waters, &c., thereon, together with 
two servi and all their belongings ; and (it proceeds) 

* for these things I am willing to render service every 

* year as foUows : — ^viz. xxx. seglas of beer (cervesa), 

* xl. loaves and a sound spring pig (frischenga), and 
*xxx. mannas, and to plough 2 jugera* (jochos) per 

voluerit et dederit res suas ad ec- 
clesiam pro redemptione animsB 
earn, licentiam habeat de portione 
sua, postquam cum filiia ems par- 
tivit. Nulltu earn prohibeat, non 
rex, non dux, nee ulla persona ha- 
beat potestatem prohibendi ei. £t 
quicquid donaverit, yillas, terras, 
mancipia, vel aliqua pecunia, om- 
nia qusecumque donaverit pro re* 
demptione anime susb, hoc per 
epistolam confirmet propria manu 

sua ipse. . . . 

* Etpost hflBC nullam habeat po- 
testatem nee ipse nee posteri ejus, 
nisi defensor ecclesisB ipaos bene- 
fidum prastare yoluerit eL' — Peris, 
Leffumiy t, iii. pp. 269-70. 

1 Urkundenbueh der Ahtei 8i. 
QnUen. i. p. 22. 

' Compare with the Kentish 
'yokes' txA 'ioclets.' The yoke 
here is, howoTer, evidently the 
juger, not ihejttgunh 

Growth of the Manor. 319 

* annum, and to gather and carry the produce to Chap. 
^the yard, also to do post service {angaria) when _. 

Here we have not only the public tributum con- 
verted into a manorial census or * gafol,* but also the 
sordida munera transformed into manorial services. 

In another charter, a.d. 759, is a surrender of all a 
man's possessions in the place called Heidolviswilare^ 
to the Abbey, * in this wise that I may receive it back 

* from you per precarianiy and yearly I will pay 

* thence censusy i.e. xxx. siclas of beer, xl. loaves, 
^ a sound spring frisginga, 3 day-works (operae) of 

* one man in the course of the year ; and my son 

* Hacco, if he survive me, shall do so during his life/^ 

In another, a.d. 761,* the monks of St. Gall re- 
grant a ^ villa' called ^ Zozinvilare' to the original 
maker of the surrender at the following census^ viz. 
xxx. siclas of beer and xl. loaves, a friscinga, and 
two hens, with this addition — ^ In quiaqua siciane^ 

* thou shalt plough saigata una (one selion ?) and 

* reap this and carry it into [the yard], and in one 

* day (jurno) * thou shalt cut it, and in another gather 

* it and carry it, as aforesaid.* 

In the surrender of a holding * in villa qui dicitur 

* Wicohaim^ the census is . . . siclas of beer, xx. 

* maldra of bread and a frisginga, and work at the 
' stated time at harvest and at hay-time, two days in 

* reaping the harvest and cutting the hay, and in 

* early spring one ^^jumalis" at ploughing, and in 

* the month of June to break up [brachan] another. 

* Urkundenbuehf pp. 27-8. 
« Id. p. 83. 

* See also id, pp. 76 and 90. 

* Hence ^jumaV for acre. 

* Id, p. 41. 

820 The Roman Land System. 

Oh^ « * and in autumn to plough and sow it — this is the 

* census for that villa/ 

delCTi^* These grants were clearly surrenders by freemen 
bySaivian. like thosc described by Salvian, which carried with 
them whatever coloni or servi there were upon the land 
Thus, under date 771,* a priest gives to the 
monks all his property in villa Ailingaa and another 
place, except two servi and five yokes of land ; and 
in another place he gives ^eervum unam cum hoba 
* 8tia et JUiis auie et cum uxore sua.* The hoba was 
clearly the * hub ' or yard-land of the serf, and it, 
he and his wife and children were all granted over 
by their lord to the abbey. 

In the same year 771 ' a man named Chunibertus 
and his wife surrendered an estate called Chunibertes- 
mlarij and it is described as including just what a 
Roman villa would include, i.e. the villa itself {casa), 
surrounded by its court {curte circumclausa)^ together 
with buildings, slaves, arable land, meadows, fields, 
&c., &c. And yet in this case also he retains posses- 
sion * sub tisu fructuario ' during his life, paying the 
same kind of census as in the other cases — xk. siclas 
of beer, a maldra of bread, and ^frisking. 
likenen Now, it will at ouce be seen how like is the census 

oensus and described in these charters to the Saxon gafol of the 
S7^^ ' Kectitudines,* and of the manors of Tidenham or 
aSd'^Mfoi- Hyssebume. There is distinctly the gafol, and in 
yrtL' many cases the gafolyrth also, but no mention of the 
week-work. Add this, and there would be an almost 
exact likeness to Saxon sei*fdom. 

But it will be remembered that even under the 

^ Urkundenbuch, p. 59. * Id. p. 60. 

Growth of the Manor, 321 

laws of Ine the week-work was not added to the qafol Ch4p. 

•^ •^ VIIL 

unless the lord provided not only the yard-land, but 

also the homestead. These surrenders were sur- 
renders by freemen of their own land and home- 
steads. It was hardly likely that the more servile 
week-work should be added to their census. How 
it would fare with their children when they sought 
to succeed their parents in the now servile holding 
is quite another thing. 

There is, indeed, apparently an instance, under New serf 
date 787,^ of the settlement of a new serf — the and«week< 
grant of a fresh holding in viUenage from the Abbot ^^, 
of St. Gall to the new tenant. The holding, if we 
may use the Saxon terms, is * set ' both * to gafol and 
to week-work ;' for the tenant binds himself (1) to pay 
to the abbey as census {i.e. as ga/ot) yearly vii. maldra 
of grain and a sound spring frisking, to be de- 
livered at the granary of the monastery ; and (2) to 
plough every week {i.e. as week-work)* at their nearest 
manor {curtem) a ^juimal '(or acre strip) in every zelga ^ 
{i.e. in each of the three fields) ; and also six days in 
a year when work out of doors is needed, whether in 
harvest or hay-mowing, to send two ' mancipii ' for 
the work : also, when work is wanted in building or 
repairing bridges, to send one man with food to the 
work, who is to stop at it as long as required. And 
to these payments and services the new tenant bound 

* himself, his heirs, and all their descendants lawfully 

* begotten.' 

> Urkundenbuch, p. 106. I * Waitz speakB of the three 

' ' Et ad proximam curtem ye»- great fields under the * Drexfdde)'- 

wtrthtchafi ' as * SSelgen/ — Vet-- 
fasmng der Deutschen Vblkei', i. 

120. And see infra^ chap. x. 8. iii. 

tram in unaquaque zelga ebdome- 
darii jurnalem arare debeamus'* 
(p. 107). 

S22 The Roman Land System. 

Chap. This surelv is a distinct case of the settlement of 


a new serf upon the land, rendering in Saxon phrase 
both gafol and week-ioork ; and the serfdom created 
is as nearly as possible identical with that of an 
English manor of the same date. 
^^ohT ^^^ ^^ return to the surrenders. It is clear from 

TjiiM or the instances quoted that some of these owners who 


on Tiiiae, Surrendered their holdings were holders of whole villas 
or heims^ some of them oi portions of villas or heims. 
And yet they placed themselves by the surrender, as 
Salvian described it, in a servile position, lower^ as he 
says, than that of the coloni of the rich^ for they merely 
retained the usufruct during their life. The inherit- 
ance was lost. And they still had a tribute to pay 
to their lord, though free from tribute to the pubUc 
purse. The Frankish kings now stood in the place 
of the Eoman Emperor. The old Eoman tributum 
apparently remained, but was payable to the Frankish 
king. When under the Alamannic laws these sur- 
renders were made to the Church, the tribute also 
was transferred from the king to the Church. 

We have seen that when such a surrender had 
been made under Eoman rule to a rich Eoman land- 
owner, the latter became responsible to the pubhc ex- 
chequer for the tributum, but he exacted tribute in 
his turn from his tenant, who thus, as Salvian said, 
though parting with his inheritance, still paid tribute 
to his lord. But this tribute can hardly have been 
the full tributum at which the holding was assessed 
to the jugatio. It seems to have been rather a fixed 
and typical gafol or census, marking a servile con- 
dition. For in the Alamannic laws there are clauses 
making the following remarkable provisions : — 

Growth of the Manor. 


Leges Alamannorum Hhthani ' (a.d. 622). 



(1) Servi enim eccleeiflB tributa 
•ua legitime reddant, qiuDdecim 
8icla8 de cervisa, porco Talente [al. 
porcum Talentem] tremisee uno, 
pane [al. panem] modia dua^ pullos 
quinque, ova viginti. 

(2) AncillflB autem opera in- 
posita sine neglecto faciant. 

(3) Servi dimidiam partem sibi 
et dimidiam [al. dimidium] in domi- 
nico aratiyum reddant. Et si super 
hsec est, sicut servi ecclesiastici ita 
faciant, tres dies sibi et tres in 


De liberis autem ecclesiasticis, 
quod [al. quos] colonos vocant, 
omnes sicut coloni regis ita reddant 
ad ecclesiam. 


(1) Let servi of the Chorcb paj 
their tribute rightly, viz., 15 siclas 
of beer, with a sound spring pig, of 
bread two modia, five fowls, twenty 


(2) Let female servi do services 

required without neglect. 

(3) Let servi do ploughing, half 
for themselves and half in the de- 
mesne. And if there be other 
services, let them do as the servi 
of the Church — three days for 
themselves and three days in the 


Concerning the freemen of the 
Church who are called ' coloni,* let 
all pay to the Church just as the 
coloni of the king. 

These clauses seem to establish clearly three 
facts : — 

(1) That the slavery of the slaves or serm on the 
ecclesiastical estates had already, in a.d. 622, become 
modified and restricted as a matter of general eccle- 
siastical custom to a three days' week-work, 

(2) That the proper tribute (or gafol) of persons 
becoming servi of the Church by surrender under 
this edict was to be as stated ; the resemblance of the 
details of this tribute with those mentioned in the 
St. Gall surrenders showing the servile nature of the 


status into which those making the surrender placed 
themselves thereby. 

(3) Freemen of the Church called ' coloni ' were 

and three 
under the 
nic law. 

^ Pertz, LeffuiUf iii. pp. 51, 62. 
T 2 

824 The Roman Land System. 

Chaf. to pay to the Church as the cohni on the terra reqi$ 

VTTT. . . 

1 did to the king. 

In other words, a whole villa or manor^ with the 
village community of * free coloni ' and the * servi ' 
upon it, might be handed over as a whole to the 
Church : in which case the free coloni were to re- 
main free and pay tribute to the Church as they 
would have done to the king if they had been * coloni ' 
on the terra regis. 

After thus becoming * free coloni ' of the Church 
they might, if they chose, by a second act surrender 
their freedom and become servi of the Church, just 
as * free coloni * on royal villas or on the terra regis 
might do under this edict. 

This evidence relates, it will be remembered, to 
the district on the left bank of the Rhine, which so 
abounded with * heims * and ' villas j as well as to that 
portion of the * Agri Decumates * which was included 
in the province of Germania Prima. 

There is still clearer evidence for the district to 
the east of the * Agri Decumates,* comprehended in 
the Eoman province of Rhaetia. 

Rhffitia, it will be remembered, was the province, 
in edicts relating to which the ' sordida munera * were 
most clearly defined. We have seen traces of some 
of these * base services,* especially the boon-work and 
the * angaricBj* in the St. Gall charters. Still clearer 
traces of them are found in the services described in 
the early * Bavarian laws * of the seventh century. 
These laws, as has been seen, expressly allowed * sur- 
renders ' by freemen of their property to the Church, 
and the services of the servi and coloni of the Church 
are described with remarkable clearness. 

Growth of the Manor. 


The section is headed- 


Lex Bttiuwariorum, texttu legis primus.^ 

De colonis vel servis eccluia^ qua- 
liter ierviant vel quale [ed. 
quaUa] tributa reddant. 

Hoc est agrario secundum esti- 
mationem iudidB; proyideat hoc 
iudez secundum quod habet donet : 
de 80 modiis S modios donet, et 
pascuario dissolTat secundum usum 
proyinciffi.* Andecenas legitimaSi 
hoc est pertica [al. perticam] 10 
pedes hahentem, 4 perticas in trans- 
Terso, 40 in longo arare, seminare, 
clauderCi colligere, trahere et re- 
condere. A tremisse unusquisque 
accda ' ad duo modia sationis ezcol- 
ligere, seminare, coUigere et re- 
condere debeat ; et yineas plantaie, 
fodere, propaginare, praBcidere, Tin- 
demiare. Reddant fa8ce[al.fa8cem] 
de lino [al. ligno] ; de apibus 10 
vasa [al. decimum vas] ; pulloe 4, 
ova 15 reddant. Farafretos [al. 
palafredos] donent, aut ipei Tsdant, 
ubi eis iniunctum fuerit. AngarioB 
cum carra faciant usque 50 lewas 
[al. leugas] ; amplius non minentur. 

Ad casas dominicas stabilire 
[al. stabiliendas], fenile, granica Tel 
tunino recuperanda, pedituraa ra- 
tionabiles accipiant, et quando ne- 
cesse fuerit, omnino componant. 


Concerning the cohni or servi of the 
Churchy what eervicee and tribiUu 
they are to render. 

This is the tribute for arable, 
according to the estimation of the 
judge. The judge must look to it 
that according to what a man has 
he must giye; for 80 modia he 
must give 3 modia. And for /hi»- 
turage he must pay according to 
the custom of the proTinoe. Legal 
andecensB (the perches being of 10 
feet), 4 perches in breadth and 40 
in length, [he is] to plough, to sow, 
to fence, to gather, to carry, and to 
store. For spring crops every 
cultivator to prepare for two modia 
of seed, and sow, gather, and 
store it And to plant vines, tend, 
graft, and prune them, and gather 
the grapes. Let them render a 
bundle of flax, of honey the tenth 
vessel, 4 fowls, and 15 eggs. Let 
them give post-horses, or go them- 
selves wherever they are told. Let 
them do carrying service with wag- 
gons as far as 50 leugse. They 
cannot be compelled to go farther. 

In keeping up the buildings in 
the demesne, in repairing the hayloft, 
the granary, or the ' tun,' let them 
take reasonable portions, and when 
needful let them compound to- 

and three 
tmdar the 

* Pertz, Legum, t. iii. pp. 278- 

• Compare Chlotharii II, Pra~ 
eeptio (584-628) s. 11. ' Agraria, 
pascuaria vel decimas porcorum 
ecclesi» pro fidei nostras devotione 

concedimus, ita ut actor aut deci- 
mator in rebus ecclesitt nullus acoe- 
dat.' — Mon. Germ, Hist, Capitur 
laria, 1, i. p. 19. 

' This word * accola* is often 
used in charters for 'free coloniJ 


The Roman Land System. 



or plough- 
iDg of 
or acre 
for the 
tenths on 
the ' tithe- 

Oalce fumo [al. calcefurno], ubi . 
prope Cuerit, lip^na aut petra [al. 
petras] 60 homines £EM:Lant, ubi 
longe fuerat [al. fuerit], 100 bo- 
mines debeant expetiri, et ad civi- 
tatem Tel ad TiUam, ubi necesse 
fuerit, ipsa calce trahantur [al. 
ipsam calcem traliant]. 

gether. To the limekiLi when 
near let 60 men, and when it is far 
let 100 men be found to supplj 
wood or [lime-Jstone, and where 
needful let the lime itself be carried 
to city or villa. 

These are the services of the coloni or accoke of 
the Church. Next as to the servi : — 

Ser\'i autem ecclesice secundum 
possessionem suam reddant tributa. 
Opera vero 3 dies in ebdomada in 
dominico operent [al. operentur], 3 
yero sibi faciant. Si vero dominus 
eius [al. eorum] dederit eis boves 
aut alias res quod habet [al. quas 
habent], tantum serriant, quantum 
eis per possibilitatem impositum 
fuerit; tamen iniuste neminem 
obpremas [al. opprimas]. 

Let the servi of the Church pay 
tribute according to their holdings. 
Let them work 3 dajrs a week in the 
demesne, and 3 days for themaelres. 
But if their lord give them oxen or 
other things they have, let them do 
as much service as can be put upon 
them, yet thou shalt oppress no 
one unjustly. 

In the face of this evidence it seems impossible to 
ignore either the continuity of the tribute and services 
under Boman and German rule on the one hand, or 
their identity with the gafoU the gafolryrth^ and the 
week-work of the English manor on the other hand. 
There is first the tenth of the chief produce due as of 
old from these occupants of the * Agri Decumates ' of 
Tacitus, closely connected with the tribute of plough- 
ing — the Saxon gafoUyrth noticed above in the St. 
Gall charters. This is to be rendered in lawfuL 
andecence^ and this measure of the plough-work is 
reckoned by the Boman rod of ten feet, and takes 
the precise form, four rods by forty, which belongs 
to the English acre of four roods ; ^ and this is the 

* In the Glosses thb andecena is called a ' iharwvrk.* 


Growth of the Manor. 327 

strip to be sown, gathered, and stored, just as in the Ch^. 
case of the Saxon * gafol-yrth' 1 

The tending of vines is peculiar to the country. 
The tenth bundle of flax, the tenth vessel of honey, 
and the fowls and eggs are also familiar items of the 
census or gafol, both in the charters of St. Gall and 
in the services of Saxon manors. 

Then there are the pack-horse services (para/reti) 
and the carrying services (' angaries cum carra '), the 
keeping up of buildings, supply of the limekiln, 
and the carriage of lime to the villa — all which once 
pubUc services [^ sordida munera')^ due to the Roman 
Emperor on whose tithe lands the coloni were settled, 
were now the manorial services of ' coloni * of the 
Church. They were called in the Codex Theodo- 
sianus ^ obsequia^' and are almost identical with the 
Saxon ^ precarice' or boon-works. 

Lastly, it has been observed that the coloni or 
accoloe did not give * week-work' This was, as has 
been seen, the distinctive mark of serfdom here in 
Ehaetia, as for centuries afterwards throughout the 
manors of mediaeval Europe. 

In other words, in the seventh century there are 
two classes of tenants on ecclesiastical manors — (1) 
the coloni or accoUe, to use the Saxon terms of King 
Ine's laws, set to gafol ; and (2) the servi^ set to gafol 
and to iceek'Work, 

Throw the two classes together, or let the remain- 
ing Roman coloni sink, as the result of conquest or 
otherwise, down into the condition up to which the 
slaves have risen in becoming serfs, and the serfdom 
of the mediaeval manorial estate is the natural result. 
At the same time an explanation is given of the per- 

328 The Roman Land System. 

Chap, sistentlv double character of the later services, which 

VIII. . ... 

'- apparently was a survival of their double origin in the 

union of the public tribute and sordida munera of the 
Boman colonics wiih the servile work of the Roman slave. 
On the estates of the Church in the early years 
of the seventh century the humanising power of 
Christian feeling had silently raised the status of the 
slave. It had dignified labour, and given to him a 
property in his labour, securing to him not only one 
day in seven for rest to his weary and heavy-laden 
limbs, but also three days in the week wherein his 
TnwBition Jabour was his own. From slavery he had risen into 
slavery to serfdom. And this serfdom of the quondam slave 
had become, in the eyes of the still more weary and 
heavy-laden free labourers on their own land, so light 
a burden compared with their own — such was the 
lawless oppression of the age — that they went to the 
Church and took upon them willingly the yoke of 
her serfdom, in order that they might find rest under 
her temporal as well as spiritual protection. 

Such an impulse did this rush for safety into 

serfdom on ecclesiastical or monastic estates receive 

from the unsettlement and lawlessness of the period 

of the Teutonic invasions, that by the time of Charles 

the Great a large proportion of the land in these 

once Roman provinces had become included in the 

manorial estates of the monasteries. 

Scows of In the thickly peopled Romano-German lands on 

tonantfl on both sides of the Rhine, including the present Elsass 

Jj^^® on the one side, and the district between the Rhine 

^aStn^ and the Maine (the present Baden and Wirtemberg) 

to Uie on the other, so strong was the current in this direc- 

Loneh. tion that we find in the Traditiones of the monasteries 

Growth of the Manor. 


of ^ Lorsch' and * Wizenburq^ scores of surrenders Chap. 

. VTTT, 

taking place sometimes in a single village. And 

these cases are of peculiar interest because G. L. von 
Maurer relies almost solely upon them as the earliest 
examples available in support of his theory of the 
original German mark and free milage community. 
His only early instances are taken from the Lorsch 
Cartulary.^ He cites 107 surrenders to the Abbey 
of Lorsch in * Hantscuhesheim ' alone,* and concludes 
that there must have been at least as many free holders 
resident there in earlier times. In Loeheim there 
were eight surrenders ; in other heims thirty-five, five, 
twenty-three, ten, forty, five, and so on. These must, 
he concludes, have formed part of originally free 
village communities on the German mark system.® 

Now these surrenders to the abbey go back to the 
reign of Pepin ; and the question is. What were these 
freemen who made these surrenders? Were they 
indeed members of German free village communities f 

In the first place, they lived in a district which 
for many centuries had been a Eoman province. 
The manners of the people had long been Bomanised. 
Even across the Maine for generations the homesteads 
had been built in Eoman fashion.* And it is significant 
that the fragments surrendered in this district, which 
since the time of Probus had become devoted to the 
vine culture, were mostly little vineyards ; e.g. * rem 
* meam, hoc est vineam^ i. in Hantscuhesheim j^ * and so 

* Geschichte der Dorfverfasmng 
in DeuUchland, i. pp. 6 et $eg, 

' Tradttianes in Pago Hhinengi, 
Codex Lauruham, pp. 357 et seg, 

' Dorfver/asmnff, pp. 15 et seq. 

* Ammianus MarceUinus, lik, 
xvii. c. i., A J). 357. 

^ Codex Laureaham, pp. 326, 
362, 369, 375 and pamnu 

328 The Roman Land System. 

Chap, sistentlv double character of the later services, which 

VIII. . ... 

apparently was a survival of their double origin in the 

union of the public tribute and sordida munera of the 
Eomanco/on^^5with the servile work of the Roman slave. 
On the estates of the Church in the early years 
of the seventh century the humanising power of 
Christian feeling had silently raised the status of the 
slave. It had dignified labour, and given to him a 
property in his labour, securing to him not only one 
day in seven for rest to his weary and heavy-laden 
limbs, but also three days in the week wherein his 
TnwBition Jabour was his own. From slavery he had risen into 
slavery to serfdom. And this serfdom of the quondam, slave 
had become, in the eyes of the still more weary and 
heavy-laden free labourers on their own land, so light 
a burden compared with their own — such was the 
lawless oppression of the age — that they went to the 
Church and took upon them willingly the yoke of 
her serfdom, in order that they might find rest under 
her temporal as well as spiritual protection. 

Such an impulse did this rush for safety into 

serfdom on ecclesiastical or monastic estates receive 

from the unsettlement and lawlessness of the period 

of the Teutonic invasions, that by the time of Charles 

the Great a large proportion of the land in these 

once Eoman provinces had become included in the 

manorial estates of the monasteries. 

Scows of In the thickly peopled Eomano-German lands on 

toDants OD both sidcs of the Ehine, including the present Elsass 

l^r^ on the one side, and the district between the Bhine 

^\n^ and the Maine (the present Baden and Wirtemberg) 

to the on the other, so strong was the current in this direc- 

Loneh. tion that we find in the Traditiones of the monasteries 

Growth of the Manor. 


of ^ Lorsch' and * Wizenburq' scores of surrenders Chap. 


taking place sometimes in a single village. And 

these cases are of peculiar interest because G. Z. von 
Maurer relies almost solely upon them as the earliest 
examples available in support of his theory of the 
original German mark and free village community. 
His only early instances are taken from the Lorsch 
Cartulary.^ He cites 107 surrenders to the Abbey 
of Lorsch in * Hantscuhesheim ' alone,* and concludes 
that there must have been at least as many free holders 
resident there in earlier times. In Loeheim there 
were eight surrenders ; in other heims thirty-five, five, 
twenty-three, ten, forty, five, and so on. These must, 
he concludes, have formed part of originaQy free 
village communities on the German mark system.® 

Now these surrenders to the abbey go back to the 
reign of Pepin ; and the question is. What were these 
freemen who made these surrenders? Were they 
indeed members of German free village communities? 

In the first place, they lived in a district which 
for many centuries had been a Eoman province. 
The manners of the people had long been Romanised. 
Even across the Maine for generations the homesteads 
had been built in Eoman fashion.* And it is significant 
that the fragments surrendered in this district, which 
since the time of Probus had become devoted to the 
vine culture, were mostly little vineyards; e.g. ^rem 
* meam^ hoc est vineam^ i. in Hantscuhesheimj' * and so 

* Geickickte der Dorfver/asmng 
in DeuUchland, i. pp. 6 et seg, 

' Tradiiionei in Pago Hhinensi, 
Codejc Zaureshum, pp. 357 et seg, 

' DorfverfMmng, pp. 15 et seg* 

* Ammianus MarceUinus, bk. 
xvii. c. i., AJ). 357. 

^ Codex Lauresham. pp. 326, 
862, 369, 375 and pasiinu 


830 The Roman Land System. 

Chap. . on. These vineyards were often composed of so many 

^scaviellij or little scamni — ridges or strips marked out 

by the Roman Agnmensores. All this is thoroughly 
Boman. What looks at first sight so much like a 
German free village community, was once a little 
Eoman * vicus ' full of people, with their vineyards on 
the hills around it. They look like German settlers 
or * free coloni * on the public domains, who had be- 
come appendant to the villa of the fiscal officer of the 
district, which had in fact by this time become to all 
intents and purposes a manor. 

A Kttle further examination will confirm this view. 
The viUaa Tumiug to the record of the earliest donation to 
the abbey, in a.d. 763,^ we find a description of a 
whole villa or hehn — * Hoc esty villam nostram quw 

* dicitur Hagenheim^ cum omni integritate sua^ terris 

* domibus cedijiciis campis pratis vineis silvis aquis 

* aquarumve decursibua favinariis litis libertis conlibertis 

* mancipiis mobilibits et iminobilibitSj ^c* 
Here there clearly is a villa or manor, and the 

tenants of this manor are liti, libertiy coliberti^ and 
mandpii or slaves. There are charters of other 
estates which are just as clearly manors with servile 
tenements and slaves upon them. 

In the similar records of surrenders to the Abbey 
of St. Gall, as we have seen, there are also donations 
of little free properties in * heims ' and * villareSj* but 
by far the greater number of the earliest donations 
are distinctly of whole manors or parts of manors, 
with coloni and mancipii upon them. 

^ Codex Lauresham. p. 3. counties of England in the Domes- 

' It L) curious to notice that 
' coliberti ' appear also in the western 

day Survey. 

Growtli of the Manor. 331 

The heims of this Romano-German district were ^^J^ 
therefore distinctly manors. They were also * marks' 

In 773 Charles the Great gave to the Abbey of Another 
Laureshain the * villa ' called * Hephenheim,* * in pago 

* RinensCj cum omni mento et soliditate sua cum terris 

* domibus cedijiciis accolis mancipiis vineis sylvis 

* campis pratis^ ^e.* — that is, the wlwle manor — * cum 

* omnibus terminis et marchis suis.' And then follow 
the marchas sive terminus silvce^ which pertained to 
the same villa of Hephenheim, ^as it had always 

* been held sub ducibus et regibus ex tempore antiquo.* 
It was then a * villa * or manor belonging to the 
Boyal domain, and it was then held as a benefice by 
a ' comes,' whose predecessor had also held it, and 
his father before him, of the king.^ 

This is clearly a grant of a whole manor with 
the tenants and slaves upon it, and a manor of 
long standing ; and the word mark is simply the 
base Latin word for boundary, like the Saxon word 

* gemaere.' Further, the boundaries are given exactly 
as in the Saxon charters, in the form described in 
the writings of the Boman Agrimensores. 

In 774,* Charles the Great made a similar grant to 
the abbey in almost identical terms of the ' villa ' called 
' Obbenheim^' in the district of Worms, * cum onmi merito 
' et soliditate sua^ ^c, accolis j mancipiis j ^c.,* just as 
before. This was another whole royal manor granted 
with its tenants and slaves to the abbey. Yet in 788 • 
the holder of a vineyard {^j petiam de vinea *) in this 
same Obbenheim surrenders it to the abbey. In 782* 

* Codex Lauresham, L pp. 16- 

» Id. i. pp. 18 and 10. 

» Id. i. p. 297. 
* Id. i. p. 303. 

332 The Roman Land System. 

Chai». there is another grant. In 793 ^ there is a similar 
1 grant of five vineyards, and another * of three vine- 
yards ; and scores of other donations of vineyards 
occur in the reigns of Charles and of his predecessor 
fhe * free It is obvious, then, that these surrenders or dona- 
were tions, which were exactly like those of Hantscuhes- 
^^ heim, were made by * free coloni ' of the manor, who 
in the time of Pepin, while the lordship remained in 
the king, as well as afterwards when the manor had 
been transferred to the abbey, surrendered their 
holdings to the abbey, thus converting them either 
into tenancies on the demesne land, or into servile 
holdings under the lordship of the abbey. They 
Snrren. Were not members of a German free village com- 
^Se^ munity, for they were tenants of a manor when they 
coloni.' made their surrenders. Nor were they slaves 
{mandpii). The only other class mentioned in 
the charter was that of the accoloB^ the word used 
for * free coloni ' in the Bavarian laws. These accolos, 
it seems, then, were * coloni ' or free tenants upon a 
royal manor, part of the old ager publictiSy now 
* terra regis.* And as such under the Prankish law 
it seems that they had power to transfer themselves 
from the lordship of the king to that of the Church. 
The Alamannic laws were enacted or at least con- 
firmed after the Prankish conquest, and probably 
were in force over this particular district at the date 
of these surrenders. These laws, as we have seen, 
expressly forbade the comes under whom they lived 

> Codex LawMham. L p. 347. * Id. i. pp. 349-350. 

' Id. ii. pp. 232 et $eq. 

Growth of the Manor. 


to prevent free tenants from making such surrenders ^^ 
for the good of their souls. .^— 

Indeed, among the St. Gall charters there is one 
exactly in point. 

It is dated a.d. 766,^ and by it the sons of a person finmpia. 
who had surrendered his land to the Abbey under 
these laws by this charter renewed the arrangement, 

* in this wise, that so as we used to do service to 

* the king and the comes, so we shall do service 

* for that land to the monastery, receiving it as a 

* benefice of the same monks per cartulam precariam.' 

This view of the case may be still further con- 
firmed. In the Lorsch records are contained in some 
cases descriptions of the services of the two kinds of 
tenants on the manors surrendered to the Abbey. 
There are free tenants and servile tenants, and it is a 
strong confirmation of the continuity of the services 
from Boman to mediseval times to find some of them 
so closely identical with the * sordida munera ' of the 
Theodosian Code and the services described in the 
Bavarian laws. 

To take an example : In Nersten the services of 
each mansus ingenualis may be thus classified : ' — 

(1) ^ census, 6 modii of barley, 1 pound of flax, at Easter 4d,, 1 

fowl, 10 eggs, 2 loads of wood. 

(2) As work, 4t weeks a year wheneTer required. 

(3) As * gafoli/rth,* to plough 1 acre in each of the [three] fields 

(jBationes), and to gather and store it. 

(4) As ' precaria,^ or sordida munera — 

3 days* work at reaping. 
2 days' work at mowing. 

1 Urkundenbuch of St Gall, i. 
p. 50. 

' Codex Lawreshamensis, ill. 

212. See also the services at 
Winenheim (iii. 206), a manor near 


334 The Roman Land System, 

Chap. 2 daye* work at biDdiog and 2 loads of canying. 

VUI. The tenant giTes a parafredum, 

"""■"~ Attends in the host. 

Carts 5 loads of lime to the kiln. 

Carts 5 loads of wood. 

Goes messages ' infra regmum ' whenever r^^quired. 

Each mansus servilis rendered, on the other hand 

(1) As centusj 1 uncia, 1 fowl, 10 eggs, a frisking worth 44. 

(2) As hoon work, ' facitmoaticum et bracem et pictaras in sepe et in 
grania.* In addition the tenant : — 

Ploughs 4 days, and all demesne land. 
Feeds for the winter 5 pigs and 1 cow. 

(3) As v^eeh-workf 3 dajs a week whenever required. 
For women*8 work, 1 uncia, 1 load of wood, 1 of grass, 10 eggs. 

In total there were eighty-seven * mansi et sortesJ 
Their It is evident that these manm and sortes were not 

allodial lots in the common mark of a free village 
community, but the holdings of two grades of semi- 
servile and servile tenants on a manor; and it is evident 
that some of the services were survivals of the sordida 
munera exacted under Eoman law. Surely the con- 
tinuity in the mode of surrender and in the services 
and tribute on these South German manors, traced 
from the Theodosian Code to the Alamannic and Bava- 
rian laws, and found again in the surrenders (identical 
with those described by Salvian) made under those 
laws, and also in the later surveys of the monastic 
estates, excludes the probability of their having been 
original settlements of German free village communi- 
ties on the German mark system, such as G. L. von 
Maurer assumes that they were. 

These curious and numerous instances on which 
this writer relied as evidence of the mark-system, 
and as remains of a once free German village com- 
munity, turn out in fact to be further instances of 

Growth of the Manor. 335 

the progress under Frankish rule, within a once Koman Chap. 

province, of the practice described by Salvian — a 
practice which continued from century to century, 
helping on the threefold tendency (1) in the villa to Manorial 
become more and more manorial, Le. more and more ^txht^ 
an estate of a lord with a village community in serf ^^^ 
dom upon it; (2) for all land to fall under some •/•tain, 
manorial lordship or other, whether royal, eccle- 
siastical, monastic or private, and so to become part 
of a manorial estate ; (3) for the originally distinct 
classes of ' free coloni ' on the one hand, and slaves 
or servi on the other hand, to become merged in the 
one common class of mediaeval serfs. 

We have yet, however, to examine the German 
side of this continental economic history as carefully 
as we have examined the Eoman side of it, before we 
shall be in a position to use continental analogies as the 
key to the solution of the English economic problem. 

It may be that direct and important German ele- 
ments also entered as factors in the manorial system, 
both during the period of Roman rule in the German 
provinces, and also after their final conquest by the 
German tribes. 





Chap. DC. The description given of the Germans by Csesar is 
Q~:^ evidently that of a people in the same tribal stage of 
dMCHD- economic development as the one with which Irish 
German and Wclsh cvidcncc has made us familiar. 


iystem. < Their whole life is occupied in hunting and warlike enterpriae. . . • 

They do not apply much to agriculture, and their food mostly coni^ista of 
milk, cheese, and flesh. Nor has anyone a fixed quantity of land or 
defined individual property, hut the magistrates and chiefs assign to 
tribes and families who herd together, annually, and for one year's occu- 
pation, as much land and in such place as they think fit, compelling them 
the next year to move somewhere else.' ^ 

He also alludes to the frailty of their houses,* 
another mark of the tribal system in Wales, which 

> De BeUo Oallico, lib. vi. c. ' cognationibusque hominum, qui una 
21 and 22. ' Neque quisquam agri i coieruut, quantum eis et quo loco 
modum certum aut fines habet i visum est agri attribuunt, atque 
proprios, Bed magistratus ac prin- i anno post alio transire cogunt.' 
dpes in annos singulos gentibus ! ^ Id, lib. vi. c 22. 

The * Germania ' of Tacitus. 837 

indeed was a necessary result of the yearly migration Chap, dc 
to fresh fields and pastures. 

Now what were the tribes of Germans with whom 
Caesar came most in contact ? 

His chief campaigns against the Germans were {1) The SaerL 
against the aSm^, who were crossing the Rhine north of 
the confluence with the Moselle, and (2) against Ario- 
vistus in the territory of the Sequani at the southern 
bend of the Rhine eastward. And it is remarkable 
that the Suevi were prominent again among the tribes 
enlisted in the army of Ariovistus.^ So that it is 
easy to see how the Suevi, coming into close contact 
with Caesar at both ends, came to be considered by 
him as the most important of the German peoples. 

He describes the Suevi separately, and in terms 
which show over again that they were still in the early 
tribal stage * in which an annual shifting of holdings 
was practised. Indeed, their semi-nomadic habits 
could not be shown better than by the inadvertently 
mentioned facts that the Suevi who were crossing the 
Bhine to the north brought their families with them ; 
and that the Suevi and other tribes forming the army 
of Ariovistus to the south had not had settled homes 
for fourteen years,^ but brought their famUies about 
with them in waggons wherever they went, the 
waggons and women of each tribe being placed 
behind the warriors when they were drawn up by 
tribes in battle array.* 

This statement of Caesar that the Germans of his 

^ De BeUo OalUco, lib. i. c. 51. loco incolendi causa licet.' 

• Id. lib. It. c. 1. ' Sed privati • Id. lib. i. c. ^. 
ac aeparati agri apud eos nihil est, ^ Id. lib. L c. 61. 
neque longius anno lemanere uno in ' 


8S8 The German Land System. 

c?HAP. ix. time were still in the early tribal stage of economic 
development in which there was an annual shifting 
of the households from place to place needs no cor- 
roboration or explaining away after what has already 
been seen going on under the Welsh and Irish tribid 
systems. The ease with which tribal redistributions 
were made under the peculiar method of clustering 
homesteads which prevailed in Wales and Ireland, 
makes the statement of Caesar perfectly probable. 

But how was it 150 years later, when Tacitus 
wrote his celebrated description of the Germans of 
his time ? 

'^ The *Germania' was obviously written from a 

nia* of Ta- distinctly Soman point of view. 

The eye of the writer was struck vdth those points 
chiefly in which German and Boman manners differed. 
The Bomans of the well-to-do classes hved in cities. 
City hfe was their usual life, and those of them who 
had villas in the country, whilst sometimes having 
residences for themselves upon them, as we have seen, 
cultivated them most oft;en by means of slave-labour 
under a viUicus^ but sometimes by coloni. 

The What struck Tacitus in the economy of the 

8Cft tt 6T6Q 

setUe- Germans (and by Germans he obviously meant the 
ihe^ A^^ tribesmen^ not their slaves) was that they did 
tribetmcn. ^^ ij^^ j^ ^j^j^ jj^^ ^^^ Romaus. * They dweU ' (he 

says) * apart and scattered, as spring, or plain, or 
* grove attracted their fancy.' ^ Of whom is he speak- 
ing? Obviously of free tribesmen or tribal house- 
holds, not of villagers or village communities, for he 

* ' ColuDt discreti ac diversi| ut fons, ut campus, ut oemuB placuit.*— > 
OeruMnia, xvi. 

The * Germania ' of Tacitus. 839 

immediately afterwards, in the very next sentence, Chaf.ix. 
Bpeaks of the Germans as avoiding even in their " 

villages {vici) what seemed to him to be obviously 
the best mode of building, viz. in streets with con- 
tinuous roofs. ' Their villages ' (he says) ' they The 
' build not in our manner vdth connected and at- S^eS 
' tached buildings. There is an open space round ^^^ 
' every one's house.' And this he attributes not to 
their fancy for one situation or another, as in the 
first case, but * either to fear of fire or ignorance of 
* how to build.' ^ 

It is obvious, therefore, that the Germans who 
chose to live scattered about the country sides, as 
spring, plain or grove attracted them, were not the 
villagers who had spaces round their houses. We 
are left to conclude that the first class were the chiefs 
and free tribesmen, who, now having become settled 
for a time, were, in a very loose sense, the landoimers, 
while the latter, the villagers, must chiefly have been 
their servile dependants. And this inference is con- 
firmed when Tacitus comes to the second point and 
tells us that the servi of the Germans differed 
greatly firom those of the Bomans. There were some 
slaves bought and sold in the market, and free men 
sometimes sank into slavery as the result of war 
or gambling ventures ; but in a general way (he 
says) their slaves were not included in the tribes- 
men's households or employed in household service, 
but each family of slaves had a separate home- 

> < Vioos locant non in nostrum 
morem, connezis et coh»rentibuB 
sedificiis: suam quisque domnm 

spatio drcumdatySiyeadyeraiis casus 
ignis remedium, siye insdtia sedi- 
ficandi.' — OermamOf zyL 

s 8 


The German Land System. 

OmiT.UL stead. ^ They had also separate crops and cattle; 
for * the lord {dominua) requires from the slave a 

* certain quantity of corn, cattle, or material for 

* clothing, as in the case of coloni. To this modi- 

* fied extent (Tacitus says) the German servua is 

* a slave. The wife and children of the free tribes- 

* man do the household work of his house, not slaves 

* as in the Boman households/ 

Clearly, then, the vicua — the milage— on the land 
of the tribesman who was their lord, was inhabited 
by these servi, who, like Roman colani^ had their 
own homesteads and cattle and crops, and rendered 
to their lord part of their produce by way of tribute 
or food-rent. 

The lords — the tribesmen — themselves (as Tacitus 
elsewhere remarks) preferred fighting and hunting to 
agriculture, and left the management of the latter to 
the women and weaker members of the family.* 
A later Now, if wc could be sure that the tribal home- 

stage than stead was a permanent possession, and that the village 
described, of scrfs arouud it had a single tribesman for its lord, 
the settlement would practically be to all intents and 
purposes a heim or manor with a village in serfdom 
upon it. It was evidently in a real sense the tribes- 
man's separate possession, for, after speaking of blood 
relationships which bind the German tribesman's 
family and home most strongly together, Tacitus 
adds, ' Everyone's children are his heirs and successors 

^ 'CateriB seiris non in noa- 
tmm morem deacriptia per fkmiliam 
miniateriia utuntur. Suam quiaque 
aedem, aaoa penatea regit. Fru- 
menti modum dominua aut pecoria 

aut yeatia ut colono injungit, et 
aervua hactenua paret : cetera 
domua officia uxor ac liberi ez« 
aequuntur.' — Oermania, 
* Id, xiy. and zy. 

The ' Ge9*mania ' of Tacitus. 341 

* without his making a will ; and if there be no Cbap. ix, 
^ children, the grades of succession are brothers, j>mmon 

* paternal uncles, maternal uncles.* ^ £5^ 

But then this was also the case in Wales and 
Ireland. There was division among male heirs of the 
family land. And yet this family land was not a 
freehold permanent estate so long as a periodical 
redistribution of the tribe land might shift it over to 
someone else. 

The embryo manor of the German tribesman, ^^ 
with its village of serfs upon it, might therefore, if maxior. 
the same practice prevailed, differ in three ways from 
the later manor. It might become the possession of 
a tribal household instead of a single lord ; and also 
it possibly might, on a sudden redistribution of the 
tribal land, fall into the possession of another tribes- 
man or tribal household, though perhaps this is not 
very likely often to have happened. Finally, it might 
become subdivided when the time came for the unity 
of the tribal household to be broken up as it was in 
Wales after the final redivision among second cousins. 

It must be remembered that land in the tribal 
stages of economic progress was the least stable and 
the least regarded of possessions. A tribesman's 
property consisted of his cattle and his serfs. These 
were his permanent family wealth, and he was rich 
or poor as he had more or less of them. So long as 
the tribe land was plentiful, he as the head of a tribal 
household took his proper share according to tribal 
rank ; and so long as periodical redistributions took 
place, even when the tribal household finally was 

^ Germanta, zz. 

342 The German Land System. 

Chap. DC. broken up, room would be found for the new tribal 
households on the tribal land. But when at last the 
limits of the land became too narrow for the tribe, a 
portion of the tribesmen would swarm off to seek 
new homes in a new country. Frequent migrations 
were, therefore, at once the proofs of pressure of 
population and the safety-valve of the system. 
F^esh The emigrating tribesmen in their new home 

vmdu! would form themselves into a new sept or tribe, take 
possession of fresh tracts of unoccupied land, and 
perhaps, if land were plentiful, wander about for a 
time from place to place as pasture for their cattle 
might tempt them. Then at last they would settle : 
each tribesman would select his site by plain, wood 
or stream, as it pleased him. He would erect his 
stake and wattle tribal house, and daub it over with 
clay ^ to keep out the weather. He would put up his 
rough outbuildings and fence in his com and cattle 
yard. Bound this tribal homestead the still rougher 
homesteads of his serfs, each with its yard around it, 
would soon form a straggling village, and the likeness 
to the embryo manor would once more appear. 
T^* Indeed, when we turn to the famous passage in 

passage of which the German settlements and their internal 
describiDg economy are described, the words used by Tacitus 
agVi^- s^^Di ui themselves to indicate that he had in his eye 
ture. precisely this process which the example of the Welsh 
and Irish tribal systems has helped to make intelli- 
gible to us. Tracts of country (a^W), he says, are 
* taken possession of {occupantiir) by a body of tribes- 
men [ab universis) who are apparently seeking new 

^ Oemumiaf xvi. 

The ' Germania ' of Tacitus. 343 

homes ; and then the agri are presently divided among Chap. ix. 

This passage, so often and so variously construed 
and interpreted, is as follows : — 

* Agri pro namero cultorum ab universiB yicis [or tn or per vices] ^ 
occupantur, quos mox inter se secundum dignationem partiuntur : facili- 
tatem partiendi camporum tpatia prtBstant. 

' Arra per annoe mutant, et tupereat ager : nee enim cum ubertate et 
amplitudine soli labore contendunt, ut pomaria oonserant et prata 
separent et hortoa rigent : tola terr» aegea imperatur.' ** 

It is unfortunate that the first few lines of this 
passage are made ambiguous by an error in the texts. 
If the true reading be, as many modern German 
critics now hold, ' ab universis vicis ' — by all the vici 
together, or by the whole community in vici — there 
still must remain the doubt whether the word vicus 
should not be considered rather as the equivalent of 
the Welsh trev than of the modem village. The 
Welsh ' trev * was, as we have seen, a subordinate 
cluster of scattered households. Tacitus himself 
probably uses the word in this sense in the passage 
where he describes the choice of the chiefs, or head 
men {prindpes) ' qui jura per pagos vicosqne reddunt.*® 
The metis is here evidently a smaller tribal subdivi- 
sion of the pagus, just as the Welsh trev was of the 
* cymwdj and not necessarily a village in the modern 

' The Bamberg Oodex has ' ab 
univereie vicis,^ and this is followed 
by Waitz ( VerftusungsgeichicMe^ 
Kiel, 1880, L 146). The Leyden 
Codex has ' in ricem.' Others ' per 
vices/ which earlier critics con- 
sidered to he an error for 'per 
Ticos.' See Wietersheim's Oe» 

aehicAie der Vblkertoanderungy with 
Dahn*s notes, i. p. 43. Leipzig, 

• OennaniOf xxvL 
» Id. xii. 

♦ The Welsh ' trev ' and Ger* 
man ' dorf ' probahly are from the 
same root. 


The German Land System. 

Ciup. IX. If, on the other hand, the true reading be • ab 
FrMh agn universis in, or pevy vices or invicem^ the meaning pro- 
iiSn^T bably is that fresh tracts of land {agri) are one after 
«^ded aiiother taken possession of by the tribal community 
ynder tri- y?:hen it moves to a new district or requires more 
room as its numbers mcrease. 

The new agri^ the passage goes on to say, are soon 
divided among the tribesmen or the trevSy ^ secundum 
dignationem^* according to the tribal rules, the great 
extent of the open country and absence of limits 
making the division easy, just as it was in the in- 
stance of Abraham and Lot. 

In any case it is impossible to suppose that Tacitus 
meant by the words in vices or invicem^ if he used 
them, that there was any annual shifting of the tribe 
from one locality to another, for it is obvious that 
the very next words absolutely exclude the possibility 
of an annual movement such as that described by 
CaBsar. ^ Arva per annos mutant et superest ager.* 
They change their arva or ploughed land yearly, i.e., 
they plough up fresh portions of the ager or grass 
land every year, and there is always plenty left over 
which has never been ploughed.^ Nothing could de- 
scribe more clearly what is mentioned in the Welsh 
triads as * co-aration of the waste.' The tribesmen have 
their scattered homesteads surrounded by the lesser 
homesteads of their * servi/ And the latter join in 
the co-tillage of such part of the grass land as year 
by year is chosen for the corn crops, while the cattle 
wander over the rest. 

enlture is 

poniooa of 
the waste 
each year. 

* * **Ager " dictuB qui a divisori- 
hoB agrorum relictuB eat ad peacen- 
dumcommuniterTicims.' IsodoruSy 

De Agru. Lachmann and Rudor£^ 
ip. d69. 

The * Germania ' of Tacitus. 845 

This seems to have been the simple form of the C hap.ix . 
open field husbandry of the Germans of Tacitus. 

And this is sufficient for the present purpose ; for 
whichever way this passage be read, it does not modify 
the force of the previous passages, which show how 
manorial were the lines upon which the German tribal 
system was moving even in this early and still tribal 
stage of its economic development, owing chiefly to 
the possession of serfs by the tribesmen. It gives us 
further a clear landmark as regards the use by the 
Germans of the open-field system of ploughing. 
Tadtus describes a husbandry in the stage of * co-ara- 
tion of the waste.' It has not yet developed into a 
fixed three-course rotation of crops, pursued over and 
over again permanently on the same arable area, as 
in * the three-field system ' afterwards so prevalent in 
Germany and England. 

These are important points to have gained, but xhaten- 
the most important one is that, notwithstanding the the^i^ 
strong resemblances between the Welsh and German JJS^^ 
tribal arrangements, there was this distinct difference 1^2^*^^ 
between them. The two tribal systems were not waidBtha 


working themselves out, so to speak, on the same 
lines. The Welsh system, in its economic develop- 
ment, was not directly approaching the manorial 
arrangement except perhaps on the mensal land of 
the chiefs. The Welsh tribesmen had as a rule no 
servile tenants under them. The taeoga were mostly 
the taeogs of the chiefs, not of the tribesmen. Thus, 
as we have seen, when the conquest of Wales was 
completed, the tribesmen of the till then unconquered 
districts became freeholders under the Prince of Wales, 
and with no mesne lord over them. The taeogs be- 

846 The German Land System. 

^ >^^*'^ ' came taeogs of the Prince of Wales and not of local 

landowners. So that the manor did not arise. But 

even in the time of Tacitus the German tribesmen 

seem to have already become practically manorial 

lords over their own servi^ who were already so nearly 

in the position of serfs on their estates that Tacitus 

described them as * like coUmi' 

Th» G«. The manor — ^in embryo — was, in fact, already in 

BomAo course of development. The German economic 

•BsiWcom- system was, to say the very least, working itself out 

^^Bt^e ^^ ^^^ 8^ nearly parallel to those of the Roman 

manor. manorial system that we cannot wonder at the silent 

ease with which before and after the conquest of 

Roman provinces, German chieftains became lords 

of villas and manors. The two systems, Roman and 

German, may well have easily combined in producing 

the later manorial system which grew up in the Roman 

provinces of Gaul and the two Germanics. 


Now, if we were to rely upon this evidence of 

Tacitus alone, the conclusion would be inevitable that 

the German and Roman land-systems were so nearly 

alike in their tendencies that they naturally and 

simply joined in producing the manorial system of 

later times. And there can be little doubt that, 

speaking broadly, this would be a substantially 

correct statement of the case. 

Wewthere But bcforc wc cau fairly and finally accept it as 

kinds of such, it is ucccssary to consider another branch of 

menUDot evidence which has sometimes been understood to 

ria?r^^ point to a kind of settlement not manorial. 

Tribal ITouaeholds. 847 

The evidence alluded to is tliat of local names Ckap. ix. 
ending in the remarkable suffix ing or ingas. It is ThT 
needful to examine this evidence, notwithstanding its ^^^ 
difficult and doubtful nature. It raises a question ^j^^T* 
upon which the last word has by no means yet been n«n«^ 
spoken, and out of which interesting and important 
results may eventually spring. The impossibiUty of 
arriving, in the present state of the evidence, at a 
positive conclusion, is no reason why its apparent 
bearing should not be stated, provided that sugges- 
tion and hypothesis be not confounded with verified 
fact. At all events, the inquiry pursued in this essay 
would be open to the charge of being one-sided if it 
were not alluded to. 

The reader of recent literature bearing upon the 
history of the English conquest of Britain will have 
been struck by the confidence and skill with which, 
in the absence of historical, or even, in some cases, 
traditional evidence, the story of the invasion and 
occupation of England has been sometimes created 
out of little more than the combination of physical ^^^nt 
geography with local names, on the hypothesis that <^ 
local names ending in ^tng,' or its plural form ^ ingas,' mentcr 
represent the original clan settlements of the German 
conquerors. Writers who rely upon G. L. Von 
Maurer's theory of the German mark-system have 
also naturally called attention to local names with 
this suffix as evidence of settlements on the basis of 
the free village community as opposed to those of a 
manorial type. 

Local names with this suffix, it is hardly needAil 
to say, are found on the Continent as well as in 


The German Land System. 

Chap. IX. 


within the 

tribes ont- 

How, it may well be asked, does the evidence they 
afford of clan settlements or free village communities 
comport with the thoroughly manorial character of 
the German settlements on the lines described by 
Tacitus ? 

Now, in order to answer this question, it must 
first be considered how far the description of Tacitus 
covers the whole field — whether it refers to the 
Germans as a whole, or whether only to those tribes 
who had come within Boman influences, and so had 
sooner, perhaps, than the rest, relinquished their 
earher tribal habits to follow manorial Hnes. 

So far as his description is geographical it is very 

(1) There are the Germans within the Boman 
limes} These included the tribes who, following up 
the conquests of Ariovistus, had settled on the left 
bank of the Bhine in what was then called the pro- 
vince of Upper Germany, including the present Elsass 
and the country round the confluence of the Bhine 
with the Maine and Moselle. These tribes were the 
Tribocci, Nemetes and Vangiones.* Further, there 
were the tribes or emigrants, many of them German, 
gradually settling within the limits of the ' Agri 
Decumates.* Lastly, there were the Batavi and 
other tribes settled in the province of Lower Germany 
at the mouths of the Bhine, shading off into Belgic 

(2) There were the Northern tribes outside the 
Boman province,* some of them tributary to the 

' GerfnaniOf xxviii. and ziix. 
' These tribes are mentioned by 
Caesar as fonmng part of the army 

of AriovistuB. De JBelio OaUicot 
lib. i. c. 51. 

' Oennaniaf zj[X.-xzxTiL 

Tribal Households. 849 

Eomans and some of them hostile, the Frisii, the Chaf. ix. 
ChatH (or Hessians), and other tribes, reaching from 
the German Ocean to the mountains, and occupying 
the country embracing the upper valleys of the 
Weser and the Elbe, some of which tribes afterwards 
joined the Franks and Saxons. 

(8) There were the Suevic tribes ^ so familiar to The Amcw 
Caesar, and amongst whom were the Angli and Fannt, the bor-^ 
the Marcomanni and ffermunduri, always hovering *"* 
over the limes of the provinces from the Ehine and 
Maine to the Danube : some of them hostile and some 
of them friendly ; some of whom afterwards mingled 
with the Franks and Saxons, but most of whom were 
absorbed in the Alamannic and the Bavarian tribes 
who finally, following the course of the previous 
emigration, passed over the limes and settled within 
the * Agri Decumates ' in Rha^tia, and m the Roman 
province of Upper Germany. 

(4) Behind all these tribes with whom the Romans Distaot 
came in contact were others vaguely described as 
lying far away to the north and east- 

The habits of which of these widely different 
classes of German tribes did Tacitus describe ? 

Probably it would not be safe to go further than The Sneoie 
to say that the Germans whose manners he was most mo§t in his 
likely to describe were those chiefly Suevic tribes 2Sk^^ 
hovering round the limes of the provinces, especially 
of the ' Agri Decumates,* with whom the Romans 
had most to do. It is at least possible that he left out 
of his picture, on the one hand, those distant northern 
or eastern tribes who may still have retained their 
early nomadic habits, and on the other hand those 

^ OermaniOf zzzviiL-xly. 

350 The German Land System. 

Chap. IX. Germans who had silently and peaceably settled 
within the limes of the Roman provinces, and so had 
become half Roman.^ 

But to what class are we to refer the settlements 
represented by the local names with the supposed 
patronymic suffix ? 

^^ The previous study of the Welsh and Irish tribal 

mie local system ought to help us to judge what they were. 

impijiiied In the first place we have clearly learned that in 
tracing the connexion of the tribal system with local 
names, the fixing of a particular personal name to 
a locality implies settlement It implies not only a 
departure irom the old nomadic habits on the part of 
the whole tribe, but also the absence within the terri- 
tory of the tribe of those redistributions of the tribes- 
men among the homesteads — the shifting of families 
from one homestead to another — which prevailed 
apparently in Wales and certainly in Ireland to so late 
a date. 

Following the parallel experience of the Iri^h and 
Welsh tribal system we may certainly conclude that 
in the early semi-nomadic and shifting tribal stage 
described by Caesar the names of places, like those 
of the Irish townlands, would follow local peculiarities 
of wood or stream or plain, and that not until there 
was a permanent settlement of particular families 
in fixed abodes could personal names attach them- 
selves to places, or suffixes be used which in them- 
selves involve the idea of a fixed abode. 

Then with regard to the nature of the tribal 
settlements which these local names with a patronymic 

^ He regarded the ' Agri Decomatea ' aa ' hardly in Germany.* 

Tribal Households. 351 

suffix may represent, surely the actual evidence of Chap. rx. 
the Welsh laws and the * Eecord of Carnarvon/ as to Theyaw 
what a tribal household was, must be far more likely 5^S»^^ 
to guide us to the truth than any theoretical view of J^j^jJi^^ 
the * village community' under the German mark- 
system, or even actual examples of village communities 
existing under complex and totally d^erent circum- 
stances at the present time, valuable as such examples 
may be as evidence of how the descendants of tribes- 
men comport themselves after perhaps centuries of 
settlement on the same ground. 

Now we have seen that the tribal household in ?V,J<^n* 

, holdiDg of 

Wales was the joint holding of the heirs of a common « family 
ancestor from the greairgrandfather downwards, with I'^d^ 
redistributions within it to make equality, first between ®^^'*™- 
brothers, then between cousins, and finally between 
second cousins; the youngest son always retaining 
the original homestead in these divisions. The WeUsj 
GwelySy and Gavells of the * Record of Carnarvon ' were 
late examples of such holdings. They were named 
after the common ancestor and occupied by his heirs. 
Such holdings, so soon as there was fixed settlement 
in the homesteads, were obviously in the economic 
stage in which, according to German usage, the name 
of the original holders with the patronymic suffix 
might well become permanently attached to them.^ 

We may then, following the Welsh example, fairly xhediTi- 
expect the distinctive marks of the tribal household to y^lSigMt 
be joint holding for two or three generations, and then JJ^^^J 
the ultimate division of the holding among male heirs^ homcatead. 
the youngest retaining the original ancestral homestead. 

' This result did not follow in Wales, because in Welsh local names 
Buffij^es are not usual. 


The German Land System. 

Chap IX ^® know how persistently the division among 

male heirs was adhered to in Wales and in Ireland 

under the custom of Gavelkind/ though of the 
peculiar right of the youngest son to the original 
homestead we have no clear trace in Ireland. 
Possibly St. Patrick was strong enough to reverse in 
this instance a strong tribal custom. But in Wales the 
succession of the youngest was, as we have seen, so 
deeply ingrained in the habits of the people that it 
was observed even among the taeogs. The elder sons 
received tyddyns of their own in the taeog trev in their 
father's lifetime, whilst the youngest son remained in 
his father's tyddyn, and on his death succeeded to it. 
The persistence in division among hebs and the 
right of the youngest were very likely therefore to 
linger as survivals of the tribal household. 

Now it is well known that in the south-east of 
England, and especially in Kent, the custom of Gavel- 
^J^the ^^^ ^^ continued to the present day, retaining the 
yowgett. division among male heirs and historical traces of the 
right of the youngest son to the original homestead. 
In other districts of England and in many parts of 
Europe and Asia the division among heirs has passed 
away, but the light of the youngest — JungstenrRecht 
— ^has survived. 

Mr. Elton, in his ' Origins of English History ^^ has 
carefully described the geographical distribution in 
Western Europe of the practice, not so much of 
division among heirs^ as of the right of the youngest to 

thifl equal 

^ Gavelkind may be derived 
from ffobel, a fork or branch, and 
tlie word Ib used in Ireland as well 

as in Kent. Irish gahal^ gahal<ined 
(Gavelkind). Manners, ^c, of the 
Ancient Irish, O'Curry, iiL p. 681. 

Tribal Households. 353 

inherit the original homestead^ the latter having sur- C haf.ix . 
vived in many districts where the other has not. 

In England he finds the right of the youngest in Wales 
most prevalent in the south-east counties — ^in Kent, England- 
Sussex, and Surrey, in a ring of manors round London, ^s^xon 
and to a less extent in Essex and the East Anglian »i^^"- 
kingdom, — Le. as Mr. Elton describes it, in a district 
about co-extensive with what in Boman times was 
known as the Saxon shore. A few examples occur in 
Hampshire, and there is a wide district where the 
right of the youngest survives in Somersetshire, which 
formed for so long a part of what the Saxons called 
* Wealcyn.* ^ 

Further, as the custom is found to apply to copy- 
hold or semi-servile holdings, it would not be an im- 
possible conjecture that previously existing original 
tribal households were, at some period, upon con- 
quest, reduced into serfs, the division of the holdings 
among heirs being at the same time stopped, so as to 
keep the holdings in equal * yokes,' or * yard-lands,' 
thus leaving the right of the youngest as the only 
point of the pre-existing tribal custom permitted to 

A similar process, perhaps in connexion with the Surrivai of 
Prankish conquest of parts of Germany, possibly of Ui"^ 
had been gone through in many continental districts, on^^e*"* 
Mr. Elton traces the right of the youngest in the Continent, 
north-east comer of France and in Brabant, in Fries- 
land, in Westphalia, in Silesia, in Wirtemberg, in the 
Odenwald and district north of Lake Constance, in 
Suabia, in Elsass, in the Grisons. It is found also in 

* Origins of English History ^ pp. 188-9. 

A A 


The German Land System. 

Chap. IX, the island of Bomeholm, though it seems to be absent 
in Denmark and on the Scandinavian mainland.^ 

Attention has been called to this curious survival 
of the right of the youngest because it forms a possible 
link between the Welsh, English, and continental 
systems of settlements in tribal households. 

We now pass to the more direct consideration of 

the local names with the supposed patronymic suffix. 

Wide ex- Thcsc peculiar local names are scattered over a 

and mean- wide Bxea ; the suffix varying from the English ing 

^Srony. with its plural ' ingaSj the German ing or ung with 

its plural ingas^ ingen, ungen^ ungun^ and the French 

' ign ' or ignj/j to the Swiss * equivalent ikonj the 

Bohemian tci,® and the wider Slavonic itz or witz. 

It seems to be dear that the termination ing^ in its 
older plural form ingas^ in Anglo-Saxon, not by any 
means always,^ but still in a large number of cases, 
had a patronymic significance. 

We have the evidence of the Anglo-Saxon 
Chronicle itself that if Baldo were the name of the 
parent, his children or heirs would in Anglo-Saxon 
be called Baldings ^ (Baldingas). 

There is also evidence that the oldest historical 
form of settlement in Bohemian and Slavic districts 

mic suffix 

* Origins of English Historg, 
-pp. 197-08. 

^ Arnold's Ansiedelungenj p. 89. 

' Palacky's OescMchU wm Boh' 
meUf Buch iL c. 6, p. 169. 

^ ' Ing * also meant a low mea- 
dow by a river bank, as * Clifton 
Ings! near York, &c Also it was 
fiometlmes used like ' ers,' as ' Ochr 
ringen,' dwellers on the river * Ohra.' 

In Denmark the individual strip in 
a meadow was an ' ing/ and so the 
whole meadow would he 'the tng/tJ 
^ See Anglo-Saxon Ghronide 
suh anno 622. ' Oordic was El»- 
sing, Elesa was Esling, Esla was 
Gewising/ and so on. See also 
Bede's statement that the Kentish 
kings were called Oiscings^ after 
their ancestor Oipc. Bede, bk. ii. c. 5. 

Tribal Households. 355 

was in the tribal or joint household — the undivided Chap, dl 
family sometimes for many generations herding to- 
gather in the same homestead {didiny)} 

And the number of local names ending in tW, or 
cwici^ changing in later times into itz and mtz^ taken 
together with the late prevalence of the undivided 
household in these semi-Slavonic regions, so far as it 
goes, confirms the connexion of the patronymic ter- 
mination with the holding of the co-heirs of an 
original holder.* 

The geographical distribution of local names with 
the patronymic termination is shown on the same 
map as that on which were marked the position of 
the ' hams ' and ' heims.' 

Eirst, as regards England, the map will show that in Coff- 
in the distribution of places mentioned in the Domes- 
day survey ending in ing^ the largest proportion occurs 
east of a line drawn from the Wash to the Isle of 
Wight : just as in the case of the ' hams,' only that in 
Sussex the greatest number of ^ ings ' occurs instead of 
in Essex. 

It is worthy of notice that names ending in ingham 
or ington are not confined so closely to this district, 
but are spread much more evenly all over England.' 
Further, it will be observed that the counties where 
the names ending in ing occur without a suffix are re- 
markably coincident with those where Mr. Elton has 
found survivals of the right of the youngest^ i.e. the old 
* Saxon shore.* 

' Palacky, pp. 168-9, Com- 
pare the word with the Welsh 
tyddyn, and the Irish tate or tath, 

' See Meitzen's Ausbreitung der 

A A 2 

Deut8chen, p. 17. Jena, 1879. 

> See Taylor's Ward» and 
Piaceif p. 131. 


The German Land System. 

In the 



and round 




Chap. lx. Next, as to the opposite coast of Picardy, the inffs 
inPicaidj. ^nd hems are alike, for very nearly all the hems in the 
Survey of the Abbey of St. Bertin of a.d. 850 are pre- 
ceded by ing, i.e. they are inghems. The proportion 
was found to be sixty per cent.^ In this north-east 
comer of France the right of the youngest, as we 
have seen, also survives. 

There are also many patronymic names of places 
in the Moselle valley and in Champagne around Troj'es 

5^ "J^d ^^^ Langres.* 

Next, as to Frisia^ eight per cent, of the names 
mentioned in the Fulda records end in ^inga,* two 
and a half per cent, in ingaheinij and three per cent. 
in i7ig with some other suflix, makhig thirteen and a 
half per cent, in all. In Priesland also there are 
survivals of the right of the youngest. 

Over North Germany, outside the Boman limeSj 
d^iy i^"^ the proportion is much less, shading off in the Pulda 
the old records from six to three, two, and one per cent. 

But the greatest proportion occurs within the 
Eoman limes in the valleys of the Neckar and the 
Upper Danube, where (according to the Fulda records) 
it rises to from twenty to twenty-four per cent.,' shad- 
ing off to ten per cent, towards the Maine, and in 
the present Elsass, and to nine per cent, southwards 
in the neighbourhood of St. Gall.* 

maDj moBt 






1 It is curious to observe that, 
taking all the names in the Cartu- 
lary (including many of later date), 
only 2 per cent, end in xiig or inga, 
6 per cent, in iiighem or ingaJiem : 
makinfr 8 per cent, in aU. 

" Taylor's Words and riaces, pp. 
496 et 8ei£, 

' Out of 119 places named in 
the charters of the Abbey of JV>. 
singa earlier in date than a.d. 800, 
24 per cent, ended in tnge, and only 
1 per cent, in heim, — Meichelbeck, 

^ In the St. Gall charters, out 
of 1,920 names, 9 per cent, end in 

Tribal Households. 357 

This chief home of the ' ings ' was the western Chap. ix. 
part of the district of the 'Agri Decumates ' of Tacitus 
and the northern province of Rhaetia, gradually oc- 
cupied by the Alamannic and Bavarian tribes in the 
later centuries of Eoman rule. 

Whether they entered these districts under cover 
of the Eoman peace, or as conquerors to disturb 
it, the founders of the ' ings ' evidently came from 
German mountains and forests beyond the limes. 

North of the Danube names with this suflSx extend North of 
chiefly through the region of the old Hermunduri chlefly'ii 
into the district of Grapfeld and Thuringia, where ^^^^u- 
they were in the Fulda records six per cent. ^^^ 

This remarkable geographical distribution in Ger- 
many suggests important inferences, 

(1) The attachment of the personal patronymic to They ««- 
the name of a particular locality implies in Germany ^^ ^ 
no less than in Ireland and Wales a permanent settle- 
ment in that locality, and so far an abandonment oi 
nomadic habits and even of the frequent redistribu- 
tions and shifting of residences within the tribal terri- 

(2) The occurrence of these patronymic local within 
names most thickly within the Roman Umes and near JSe.. 
to it, points to the fact that the Roman rule was the 
outside influence which compelled the abandonment 

of the semi-nomadic and the adoption of the settled 
form of life. 

(3) The addition in some cases — most often in possibly 
Flanders and in England, which were both Roman ™*° 

inffa, 3^ per cent, in inchova. The I are either wilare or wanga ; only 
most common other terminations | 2 per cent, end in heim. 

558 The German Land System. 

Chap, dl provinces — of the suflix ham to the patronymic local 
name, although most probably a later addition, and 
possibly the result of conquest, at least reminds us of 
the possibility already noticed that even a villa or 
ham or manor, with a servile population upon it, 
might be the possession of a tribal household, who 
thus might be the lords of a manorial estate. 
()i6hw)t8 ^4j Considering the geographical distribution of 

vie tribes the patronymic termination, beginning in Thuringia 
^.%. andGrapfeld, but becoming most numerous in Ehastia 
"**^'' and the ' Agri Decumates,' it is almost impossible to 
avoid the inference that it is in most cases connected 
with settlements in these Boman districts of ofishoota 
from the old Suevic tribe of the Hermunduri — ^viz. 
Thuringij Juthungij and others who, settling in these 
districts during Boman rule, became afterwards lost io 
the later and greater group of the Alamanni. 
Forced This inference might possibly be confirmed by 

of Ala* the fact that the isolated clusters of names ending in 
bS^c "* ' i^^g ' on the west of the Bhine, correspond in many 
^'^' instances with the districts into which we happen to 
know that forced colonies of families of these and 
other German tribes had been located after the ter- 
mination of the Alamannic wars of Probus, Maximian^ 
and Constantius Clorus. These colonies of keti 
were planted, as we have seen, in the valley of the 
Moselle, and the names of places ending in ' ing ' are 
numerous there to this day. They were planted in 
the district of the Tricassi round Troyes and Langres, 
and here again there are numerous patronymic names. 
They were planted in the district of the Nervii round 
Amiens close to the cluster of names ending in * ing- 
ahem,' so many of which in the ninth century are 

Tribal Households. 859 

found to belong to the Abbey of St. Bertin. Lastly — Chap. ix. 
and this is a point of special interest for the present andpos- 
inquiry — ^we know that similar deportations of tribes- Sn^imd. 
men of the Alamannic group were repeatedly made 
into Britain, and thus the question arises whether 
the places ending in * ing ' in England may not also 
mark the sites of peaceable or forced settlements of 
Germans under Boman rule. 

They lie, as we have seen, chiefly within the 
district of the Saxon shore, i.e. east of a line be- 
tween the Wash and the Isle of Wight, just as was 
the case also with the survivals of the right of the 

If evidence had happened to have come to hand 
of a similar deportation of Alamannic Germans into 
Frisia instead of Frisians into Gaul, the coincidence 
would be still more complete. 

The suggestion is very precarious. Still, it might s^ch 
be asked, where should clusters of tribal households ments 
of Germans resembling the Welsh Weles and GaveUs j^^ba^ 
be more likely to perpetuate their character and ^J^J^^ 
resist for a time manorial tendencies than in these »i*ve«. 
cases of peaceable or forced emigration into Boman 
provinces ? Who would be more likely to do so than 
troublesome septs (like that of the Cumberland 
' Grames ' in the days of James I.) deported bodily to 
a strange country, and settled, probably not on private 
estates, but on previously depopulated public land, 
without slaves, and without the possibility of acquiring 
them by making raids upon other tribes? 

Now, according to Professor Wilhelm Arnold, the ^^"^ 
German writer who has recently given the closest msimics, 
attention to these local names, the patronymic suffix 


The German Land System. 

Chap. IX. < ingen ' is one of the distinctive marks of settlements 
"""" of Alamannic and Bavarian tribes, and denotes that 
the districts wherein it is found have at some time 
or another been conquered or occupied by them. 
The heims, on the other hand, in this writer's view, 
are in the same way indicative of Frankish settle- 

The view of so accurate and laborious a student 
must be regarded as of great authority. But the 
foregoing inquiry has led in both cases to a some- 
what different suggestion as to their meaning. The 
suffix heim is Anglo-Saxon as well as Frankish, and 
translating itself into villa and manor seems to re- 
present a settlement or estate most often of the 
manorial type. So that it seems likely, that what- 
ever German tribes at whatever time came over 
into the Eoman province and usurped the lordship 
of existing villas, or adopted the Roman villa as 
the type of their settlements, would probably have 
called them either weilers or helms according to 
whether they used the Roman or the Gterman word 
for the same thing. 

And in the same way it also seems likely, that 
whatever tribes^ at whatever time, by their own choice 
or by forced colonisation, settled in hofise communities 
of tribesmen with or without a servile population under 
therrij would be passing through the stage in which 
they might naturally call their settlements or home- 

' Arnold's Ansiedehingen und 
Wctndtrwngen deutscher Stamme. 
Marburg, 1881. See pp. 155 et seq. 
He considers that the Alamanni 
were a group of German peoples 
who had settled in the libine 

valley and the Agri Decumatm, 
including among them the Juthungi, 
who had crossed oyer from the 
north of the limes late in the third 

Tribal Bouaeholda. 


steads after their own names, using the patronymic Ciup. nc. 
suffix ing. 

It is undoubtedly difficult to obtain any clear in- 
dication of the time^ when these settlements may 
have been made. Nor, perhaps, need they be referred 
generally to the same period, were it not for the re- 
markable fact that the personal names prefixed to the 
suflSx in England, Flanders, the Moselle valley, round 
Troyes and Langres, in the old Agri Decumates (now 
Wirtemburg), and in the old Rhaetia (now Bavaria), 
and even those in Frisia, were to a very large extent 

This identity is so striking, that if the names were, '^* ^^^ 
as some have supposed, necessarily clan-nameSj it might ciannamei, 
be impossible to deny that the English and continental sonai 
districts were peopled actually by branches of the same 
clans. But it must be admitted that, as the names to 


^ In the ErMdrung der Peutifi" 
ger Tafely by £. Paulus, Stuttgart, 
1866, there is a careful attempt to 
identify the stations on the Roman 
roads from Brigantia to Vindonissa, 
and from Vindonissa to JRegino, 
The stations on the latter, which 
passed through the district abound- 
ing in 'ings/ are thus identified; 
the distances between them, except 
in one case (where there is a dif- 
ference of 2 leugen), answering to 
those marked in the T<Me (see p. 

Vindonissa (Windisch), Tena- 
done (Heidenschl6schen),t7iiJtfofiui^o 
(Hiifingen), Brigobanne (Rottweil), 
Arisflavis (Unter-Iflingen), Samulo- 
cenms ( Rottenberg ), Grinario 
(Sindelfingen), C^enna (Oarls- 
«tatt), Ad hinam (Piahlbronn; 

Aquileia (Aalen) [up to which 
point there is a remarkable change 
of names throughout, but from 
which point the similarity of names 
becomes striking], Opie (Bopfin- 
gen), Septemiaci (Maihingen), Xo* 
sodica (Oettingen), Mediants (Mark- 
hof), Icvniaco (Itzing), Biricianis 
(Burkmarshofen), Vetoniamis (Nas- 
senfels), Oermanico (Eosdung) 
Celeuso (Ettling), Abusena (Abens- 
berg), JRegino (Regensburg). But 
these names in ing and ingen, and 
Latin tact, do not seem to be patro- 
nymic. So also in the case of the 
Roman ' VicusAureUi* on the Ohra 
river, now ' Gehringen/ Is it not 
possible that many other supposed 
patronymics may amply mean such 
and such or 8o-and-80*8 * ings * or 
meadows P 


The Gentian Land System. 

Obap. IX. which the peculiar suflSx was added were personal 
names and not family or clan names — John and 
ThomaSj and not Smith and Jones — ^it would not be 
safe to press the inference from the similarity too far. 
Baldo was the name of a person. There may have 
been persons of that name in every tribe in Germany. 
The Baldo of one tribe need not be closely related 
to the Baldo of another tribe, any more than John 
Smith need be related to John Jones. The households 
of each Baldo would be called Baldings^ or in the 
old form Baldingas ; but obviously the Baldings of 
England need have no clan-relationship whatever to 
the Baldings of Upper Germany.^ Nevertheless, the 
striking similarity of mere personal names goes for 

®^^^^^"^' ^^^ ^' ^® impossible to pass it by un- 
ontiTvery noticcd. The cxtcut of it may be shown by a few 

remark- i 

ebia. examples. 

In the following list are placed all the local names 
mentioned in the Domesday Survey of Sussex^ be- 
ginning with the first two letters of the alphabet in 
which the pecuhar suffix occurs, whether as final 
or not,* and opposite to them similar personal or local 

Bat the 
of the 


^ The oceasioiial initances in 
"which the patronymic termination 
is added to the name of a tree or 
an animal, has led to the hasty con- 
cluaion that the Saxons were ' to- 
temiets/ and helieved themselves de- 
scended from trees and animals ; 
e.g. that the Buckings of Bucks 
thought themselves descendants of 
the beech tree. The fact that per- 
sonal names were taken from trees 
and animals — that one person called 
himself ' the Beech^ another ' the 

Wolf^ — quite disposes of this argu- 
ment, for their households would 
caU themselves ' Beechings* and 
' Wolfings' in quite a natural course, 
without any dream of descent from 
the tree or the animal whose name 
their father or great-grandfather 
had borne. 

^ The resemblance is equally 
apparent whether the comparison 
be made between names without 
further suffix or whether those with, 
it are included. See the long list 

Tribal Households. 


names taken from the early records of Wirtemberg^ Chap. ix. 

le district of the Bhine, Maine, and Neckar, for- 

j part of the 

* Agri Decumates/ 





Aooo, Echo, Eochoy Achelm 




Babinbexch, Babenhauseoi 








BeUingon, BSllingerbof 










As regards the supposed patronymic names in inPieaxdy. 
the district between Calais and St. Omer, Mr. Taylor 
states that 80 per cent, are found also in England.^ 

We may take as a further example the resemblance in tbe 
between names of places occurring in SprUner's maps ^ 
of ^ Deutschlands Gaue ' in the Moselle valley and those 
of places and persons mentioned in early Wirtembeig 

MoneUe VdUmf. 

H eminiDgathal 


FrieaOy Frisingen 





Lncaa, Ludlunburcb 

of patronymic names in England, 496-513. 

Gennany, and France in Taylor*8 ^ Taylor*a Words and JPtacei,^^, 

Words and Piaces, App. B, pp. 181-4, and App. B, p. 491. 


The Gei^man Land System. 

Obap. IX. 

In Chanu 

Id FHma. 

Mo9eUe VaUey. 



Mundricheshuntan, ^Ii::-- 

Oteric, Otrik 
Pettili, Pertilo 
Uto, nttinunilare 

The following coincidences^ occur in the modern 
Champagne, which embraces another district into 
which forced emigrants were deported. 



























And so on in about forty cases. 

A comparison of the fifteen similar names in 
Frida occurring in the Fulda records, with other 
similar names of places or persons in England and 
Wirtertiberg ^ gives an equally clear result. 


{ATington (Berks and 
Beltings (Kent) 

{Bellin^onl Several 
Sellings J counties 




Am, Auenhofen 


Baldhart, Baldingen 





^ See the lists g^ven in TayWs 
Wards and Places^ Appendix B, pp. 
496 et $eq. Taylor says that tiiere 
are 1,100 of the patronymic names 
in France, of which 250 are similar 
to those in England. See pp. 144 
0l seq. 

^ Taken from Traditiones Fuid- 
mms, Dronke, pp. 240-24S. The 
above list includes all the names in 
Frisia with a patronymic and no 
other suffix. 

* Taken from the Wtrtem* 
bergische Urkundenlmeh. 

Tribal Households. 















{Oreglingen, Chiez- 1 
zisgen / 

rHuchiheim 1 

Roingus, Rohinc 
Suittes, Suitger 


{OressiDg (Efisex) 
OreefiiDgham (Norfolk) 

fGuyting (Qloucebter) 
LGetiDgas (Surrey) 

Huddng (Kent) 

Chap. IX. 

Rockiiigham (Notts) 

Wakering (Essex) 
Washington (Sussex) 

It is impossible to follow out in greater detail these The infop- 
remarkable resemblances between the personal names di&wn 
which appear with a patronymic suflSx in the local JiSS^ty. 
names in England and Frisia, and certain weU-defined 
districts west of the Rhine, and the local and personal 
names mentioned in the Wirtemberg charters. The 
foregoing instances must not be regarded as more 
than examples. And for the reasons already given it 
would also be unwise to build too much upon this 
evident simUarity in the personal names, but stiU it 
should be remembered that the facts to be accounted 
for are — (1) The concentration of these places with 
names having a supposed patronymic termination in 
certain defined districts mostly within the old Eoman 
provinces. (2) The practical identity throughout all 
these districts of so many of the personal names to 
which this suflSx is attached. 

The first fact points to these settlements in tribal 
households having taken place by peaceable or forcible 
emigration during Eoman rule, or very soon after, at 
all events at about the same period. The second fact 
points to the practical homogeneity of the German 
tribes, whose emigrants founded the settlements which 

866 ^ The German Land System. 

Giup.ix. in England, Flanders, around Troyes and Langres, 
on the Moselle, in Wirtemberg, in Bavaria, and also 
in Frisia, bear the common suffix to their names. 

The facts already mentioned of the survival to a 
great extent in the same districts^ strikingly so in Eng- 
land, of the right of the youngest^ and in Kent of the 
original form of the local custom of Gavelkind, point 
in the same direction. 

Taking aU these things together, we may at least 
regard the economic problem involved in them as one 
deserving closer attention than has yet been given to it. 
ThesetUe- In conclusiou, tumiug back to the direct relation 
Siui"' of these facts to the process of transition of the 
^^^Te' German tribal system into the later manorial system, 
^^•^ it must be remembered that the holdings of tribal 
households might quite possibly be, from the first, 
embryo manors with serfs upon them. They might be 
settlements precisely like those described by Tacitus, 
the lordship of which had become the joint inheritance 
of the heirs of the founder. As a matter of fact, the 
actual settlements in question had at all events become 
manors before the dates of the earliest documents. 
We have seen, e.g.^ that the villas belonging to the 
monks of St. Bertin, with their almost invariable suffix 
* ingahem,' were manors from the time of the first 
records in the seventh century, and they may never 
have been anything else. We have seen that in the year 
645 the founder of the abbey gave to the monks his 
villa called Sitdiu, and its twelve dependent villas 
{Tatinga villa j afterwards Tatingahem^ among them)* 
with the slaves and coloni upon them. They seem to 

1 Chartuiarium SUhiense, p. 18. 

Tribal Households. 367 

have been, in fact, so many manorial farms just like Cm^dc. 
those which, as we learned from Gregory of Tours, 
Chrodinus in the previous century founded and handed 
over to the Church. 

We have not found, therefore, in this inquiry into Th^^f . 
the character of the settlements with local names mateiyb©. 
ending in the supposed patronymic suffix, doubtful as ^MOTiaL 
its result has proved, anything which conflicts with the 
general conclusion to which we were brought by the 
manorial character of the Eoman villa and the mano- 
rial tendency of the German tribal system as described 
by Tacitus, viz. that as a general rule the German 
settlements made upon the conquest of what had once 
been Roman provinces were of a strictly manorial 
type. If the settlements with names ending in ing 
were settlements of loeti or of other emigrants during 
Eoman rule, taking at first the form of tribal house- 
holds, they at least became manors like the rest during 
or very soon after the German conquests. If, on 
the other hand, they were later settlements of the con- 
querors of the Roman provinces, or of emigrants fol- 
lowing in the wake of the conquests, they none the les 
on that account soon became just as manorial as those 
Roman villas which by a change of lordship and 
translation of words may have become German heims 
or Anglo Saxon hams. 

It is certainly possible that during a short period, 
especially if they held no serfs or slaves, tribal 
households may have expanded into free village 
communities. But to infer from the existence of 
patronymic local names that German emigration at 
all generally took the form of free village communities 
would surely not be consistent with the evidence. 








Chap. X. 

Under the 
system, the 
system the 
shell of 



We now return to the English manorial and open- 
field system, in order, taking it up where we left it, 
to trace its connexion with the similar Clontinental 
system, and to inquire in what districts the closest 
resemblances to it are to be found — whether in the 
un-Romanised north or in the southern districts so 
long included within the limes of the Roman provinces. 
The earUest documentary evidence available on 
EngUsh ground left us in full possession of the Saxon 
manor with its village community of serfs upon it, 
inhabiting as its shell the open-field system in its most 
organised form, i.e. with its (generally) three fields, 
its furlongs, its acre or half-acre strips, its headlands, 
its yard-lands or bundles of normally thirty acres, scat- 
tered all over the fields, the yard-land representing the 
year's ploughing of a pair of oxen in the team of 

The Open-Field System. 369 

eight, and the acre strip the measure of a day's plough- Chaf. x. 
work of the team. 

This was the system described in the ' Rectitudines * 
of the tenth century, and the allusions to the ^ gebur,' 
the 'yard-land,' the 'setene,' the 'gafol,' and the 
' week-work ' in the laws of Ine carried back the evi- 
dence presumably to the seventh century. 

But it must not be forgotten that side by side simpler 
with this manorial open-field system we found an open-fieid 
earlier and simpler form of open-field husbandry user's? 
carried on by the free tribesmen and taeogs of Wales. Jyg^nj 
This simpler system described in the Welsh laws 
and the ' triads ' seemed to be in its main features 
practically identical with that described also in the 
Ge7*mania of Tacitus. It was an annual ploughing 
up of fresh grass-land, leaving it to go back again 
into grass after the year's ploughing. It was, in fact, 
the agriculture of a pastoral people, with a large 
range of pasture land for their cattle, a small portion 
of which annually selected for tillage sufficed for their 
corn crops. This is clearly the meaning of Tacitus, 
' Arva per annos mutant et super est ager.' It is clearly 
the meaning of the Welsh * triads,' according to which 
the tribesman's right extended to his ' tyddyn,' with 
its com and cattle yard, and to co-aration of the 

Nor can there be much mystery in the relation 
of these two forms of open-field husbandry to each 
other. In both, the arable land is divided in the 
ploughing into furlongs and strips. There is co-opera- 
tion of ploughing in both, the contribution of oxen 
to the common team of eight in both, the allotment 
of the strips to the owners of the oxen in rotation, 

B B 

870 The Open-Field System 

Chap. X. producing the same scattering of the strips in both. 
Three-field The mcthods are the same. The difference lies in the 
prodwed application of the methods to two different stages of 
by a three- economic OTOwth. The simple form is adapted to 

course ro- ^ -^ , , * 

tation of the early nomadic stage of tribal life, and survives 
""^ even after partial settlement, so long as grassland is 
sufficiently abundant to allow of fresh ground being 
broken by the plough each year. The more complex 
and organised form implies fixed settlement on the 
same territory, the necessity for a settled agri- 
culture within a definite limit, and the consequent 
ploughing of the same land over and over again for 
generations. The three-field system seems to be simply 
the adaptation of the early open-field husbandry to a 
permanent three-course rotation of crops, 
k^d^" But there is a further distinguishing feature of 
™^^®' the English three-field system which implies the 
introduction of yet another factor in the complex 
result, viz. the yard-land. And this indivisible bundle 
of strips, to which there was always a single succession, 
was evidently the holding not of a free tribesman 
whose heirs would inherit and divide the inheritance, 
but of a serf, to whom an outfit of oxen had been 
allotted. In fact, the complex and more organised 
system would natm'ally grow out of the simpler form 
under the two conditions of settlement and serfdom. 

Now, turning from England to the Continent, we 
have in the same way various forms of the open-field 
system to deal with, and in comparing them with the 
English system their geographical distribution becomes 
very important. 

Happily, very close attention has recently been 
given to this subject by German students, and we are 

in England and Germany. S71 

able to rely with confidence on the facts collected by chap. x. 
Dr. Landau,^ by Dr. Hanssen,* and lastly by Dr. August owman" 
Meitzen in his Ausbreitung der Deutschen in Deutsche *^^^^*** 
land^^ and in his still more recent and interesting Oemuui 
review of the collected works of Dr. Hanssen.^ 

Whilst we learn from these writers that much 
remains to be done before the last word can be said 
upon so intricate a subject, some general points seem 
at least to be clearly made out. 

In the first place there are some Qerman systems 
of husbandry which may well be weeded out at once 
from the rest as not analogous to the Anglo-Saxon 
three-field system in England. 

There is the old ^Feldgraamrthschaftj^xislogous TheFtid- 
perhaps to the Welsh co-ploughing of the waste and SSt ' 
the shifting * Arva * of the Oermans of Tacitus, which 
still lingers in the mountain districts of Oermany and 
Switzerland, where corn is a secondary crop to grass.^ 

There are the ' Eimelhofe ' of WestphaUa and other The Eln- 
districts, i.e. single farms, each consisting mainly of '*^**^*- 
land all in one block, like a modem Enghsh farm, 
but as difierent as possible from the old Enghsh open- 
field system, with its yard-lands and scattered strips.^ 

Further, there is a pecuhar form of the open-field 
system, chiefly found in forest and marsh districts, in 
which each holding consbts generally of one single 

^ ' Die Territorien in Bemg auf 
ikre BUdung und ihre ErUvricMung^^ 
Hamburg and Gotha, 1664. 

* Dr. HanB8en*s yarioos papers 
on the subject are collected in 
his Agroi'historische Abhtmdhmgen^ 
Leipzig, 1880. 

^ ' Qeorg Hanuen, als Agrar* 
Hiitoriker,^ Von August Meitzen, 
1881. Tubingen. 

* See HaD88en*s chapter, 'Die 
Feldgraiwirihschqft deuUcher Qt- 
hirgMgegenden} in his Agrarhitt. 
Abhandl,y pp. 182 ei seq. 

* Jena, 1879. I * Landau, pp. 16 -20. 



The Open-Field System 

<^jj^^' long strip of land^ reaching from the homestead right 
ForMtand across the village territory to its boundary.^ This 
■jM«m. system, so different from the prevalent Anglo-Saxon 
system, is supposed to represent comparatively modem 
colonisation and reclamation of forest and marsh land ; 
and though possibly bearing some analogy to the Eng- 
lish fen system, is not that for which we are seeking. 

Passing all these by, we come to a peculiar 
method of husbandry which covers a large tract of 
country, and which is adopted under both the single 
farm system and also the open-field system with scat- 
tered ownership, but which nevertheless is opposed 
to the three-field system. It is especially important 
for our purpose because of its geographical position. 

All over the sand and bog district of the north of 
Germany, crops, mostly of rye and buckwheat, have 
for centuries been grown year after year on the same 
land^ kept productive by marUng and peat manure, 
on what Hanssen describes as the * one-field system.' * 
This system is found in WestphaUa, East Friesland, 
Oldenburg, North Hanover, Holland, Belgium, Den- 
mark, Brunswick, Saxony, and East Prussia. Over 
parts of the district under this one-field system the 
single-farm system prevails, in others the fields are 
divided into ^ Gewanne ' and strips, and there is 
scattered ownership. 

Now, possibly this one-field system, with its 
marling and peat manure, may have been the 
system described by Pliny as prevalent in Belgic 
Britain and Gaul before the Soman conquest, 


* See the interestiiig examples 
given in Meitzen't Authreitungf 

* See Hanssen's chapter on the 
*Einfeldwirthiokaftf Agrarhitt, AIh 
handL pp. 100 et seq. 

in England and Gei^many. 878 

but certainly it is not the system prevalent in Chap.x, 
England under Saxon rule. And yet this district j^ North 
where the one-field system is prevalent in Germany Ownw^* 
is precisely the district from which, according to the 
common theory, the Anglo-Saxon invaders of Britain 
came. It is precisely the district of Germany where 
the three-field system is conspicuously absent. So 
that although Nasse and Waitz somewhat hastily 
suggested that the Saxons had introduced the three- 
field system into England, Hanssen, assuming that 
the invaders of England came from the north, con- 
fidently denies that this was possible. ^ The Anglo- 
' Saxons and the Frisians and Low Germans and 
' Jutes who came with them to England cannot [he 
' writes] have brought the three-field system with 
' them into England, because they did not themselves 
* use it at home in North-west Germany and Jutland. 
He adds that even in later times the three-field 
system has never been able to obtain a firm footing 
in these coast districts.^ 

There remains the question, where on the Conti- The thre^ 
nent was prevalent that two- or three-field system tem *^^ 
analogous to the one most generally prevalent on the 
manors of England P 

The result of the careful inquiries of Hanssen, 
Landau, and Meitzen seems to be, broadly speaking, 
this, viz., that setting aside the complication which 
arises in those districts where there has been a Slavic 
occupation of German ground and a German re-occu- 
pation of Slavic ground,^ the ancient three-field 
system, with its huhen of scattered strips, was most 

* HansBeD, p. 496. i tion, see eepedallj MeitxeD*s Auti' 

' As to this part of the ques- 1 hreitung. 

374 The Open-Field System 

Chap. X. generally prevalent south of the Lippe and the 

in the old Teutoberger Wald, i.e. in those districts once occu- 

^^n**** pied by the Suevic tribes located round the Eoman 

diitrieu. lijrfies^ and still more in those districts within the 

Boman limes which were once Boman province — 

the * Agri Decumates/ Bhastia, and Gennania Prima — 

the present Baden, Wirtemberg, Swabia, and Bavaria, 

on the German side of the Bhine, and Elsass and the 

Moselle valley on its Gallic side.^ 

These once Boman or partly Bomanised districts 
were undoubtedly its chief home. Sporadically and 
later, it existed further north but not generally. 

This general geographical conclusion is very im- 
portant. But before we can fairly assume either a 
Boman or South German origin, the similarity of the 
English and South German systems must be examined 
in their details and earUest historical traces. Further, 
the examination must not be confined to the shell. 
It must be extended also to the serfdom which in 
Germany as in England, so to speak, lived within it. 

In previous chapters some of the resemblances 
between the EngUsh and German systems have inci- 
dentally been noticed, but the reader will pardon 
some repetition for the sake of clearness in the state- 
ment of this important comparison. 

> Landau, ' Die Tmritorien,' pp. 32 et seq. 

in England and Germany. 375 

Chap. X* 

First as to the whole territory or ager occupied The bow». 
by the village community or township. This, by march«, 
the presentment of the homage of the EUtchin Manor, 
was described in the record by its boundaries — from 
such a place to such a place, and so on till the start- 
ing-point was reached again. 

In the * gemceru ' of the Saxon charters the same 
form was used. 

In the * marchce * of the manors surrendered to 
the abbey of Lorsch in the seventh and eighth cen- 
turies, the same form was used in the Bhine valley. 

It is, in fact, as we have seen, a form in use 
before the Christian era, and described by the Bomau 
* Agrimensores ' as often adopted in recording the 
^limites* of irregular territories, to which their rect- 
angular centuriation did not extend. 

Now, when we consider this method, it implies 
permanent settlements close to one another, where 
even the marshes or forests lying between them have 
been permanently divided by a fixed line, or it im- 
plies that a necessity has arisen to mark off the occu- 
pied territory from the ager publicus. It may have 
been derived from the rough and ready methods of 
marking divisions of tribe-land during the early and 
unsettled stages of tribal life. But the German 
settlements described by Tacitus seem to have been 
without defined boundaries. * Agri * were taken pos- 
session of according to the number of the settlers, 
pro numero cultorum. Not till some outside influence 
compelled final settlement would the necessity for 

376 The Open-Field System 

Chap. X. well-marked boundaries of territories arise. And we 
have seen that the evidence of local names strongly 
points to the Boman rule as this settling influence. 

In the Lorsch charters the districts included 
within the 'marchae' are often, as we have seen, 
called ^ marks.' 


The three Next as to the division of the arable land into 

fields — generally three fields ^ — ^representing the 
annual rotation of crops. 

The homage of the Hitchin Manor presented that 

the common fields within the township had im- 

memoriably been and ought to be kept and cul- 
tivated in three successive seasons of — 

(1) Tilth-grain, 

(2) Etch-grain, and 

(3) Fallow. 

The three fields are elsewhere commonly known 

as the — 

(1) Winter corn, 

(2) Spring corn, and 

(3) Fallow. 

Universally, the fallow ends at the autumn 
sowing of the wheat crop of the next season, which 
is hence called ' winter com.' 

The word etch^ or eddish^ or edish, occurs in 
Tusser, and means the stubble of the previous crop 

^ Sometimes in GennaDj, as in I SeeHanseen^schaptenonthe' 
England, there were two or more. ; Ft>f^ und Funfelderwirthtehaft.' 

in England and Germany. 377 

of whatever kind. Thus, in the * Directions for Chaf. x. 
February,' he says, — Etch-grain 

sown on 
' Eat etch, ere ve plow, the stnbbla 

With hog, aheep, aod cow/ » of a pnn 

This is evidently to prepare the stubble of the last 
year's corn crop for the spring sown bean or other 
crop ; for under the same month he says, — 

Go plow in the stubhle, for now is the eeason 
For Bowing of Tetches, of beans, and of peason.* 

In the directions for the October sowing are the 
following hues : — 

Seed first go fetch 
For ediihf or tick. 
White wheat if je please, 
Sow now upon pease.' 

And again, — 

When wheat upon eddish ye mind to bestow 
Let that be the first of the wheat je do sow. 

White wheat upon pease-^fcA doth grow as he would, 
But fallow is best if we did as we should. 

When peason ye had and a fallow thereon, 

Sow wheat ye may well without dung thereupon.* 

* Etch-grain ' is therefore the crop, generally Tath-gmin 
oats or beans, sown in spring after ploughing the th^Uow. 
stubble of the wheat crop, which itself was best 
sown if possible upon the fallow, and so was called 
the * tilth-grain.' 

The oats or beans grown on the wheat stubble Breach- 
were sometimes called ' jBreacA-corn,' and Breach- 
land was land prepared for a second crop.* 


* Tusser, * February Abstract' 
■ Id, ' February Husbandry.' 

• M * October Abstract.' 

♦ Id, 'October Husbandry.' 
^ Halliwell, sub voce. 


The Open-Field System 

Oeap. X. 

the three 

• Felder/ 

• Zelgen. 

and the 

Where shall we find these words and things on 
the Continent ? 

Looking to the Latin words used for the three 
fields, it is obvious that these were sometimes regarded 
as three separate ploughings — araturoB^ or cuUuroe^ — 
or as so many sowings — sationes^ — just as in the 
north of England they are called * falls,' or * fallows,' 
which have to be ploughed. 

In North Gtermany, where they occur, they 
are generally simply called */?Wer;'* in France 
around Paris they were called in the ninth century 
' satianes ; '* but in South Germany and Switzerland 
the usual word for each field is Zelg^ which Dr. 
Landau connects with the Anglo-Saxon * Hlgende ' 
(tilling), and the later English ^ tilths one of the 
Hitchin words. And he says that Zelg strictly means 
only the ploughed field * (aratera), though used for 
all the three. The three fields were thus spoken of 
as three tilths. The word ' Zelg ' we have already 
found in the St. Gall charters in the eighth centiuy, 
and Dr. Landau points out other instances of the 
same date of its use in the districts of Swabia, the 
middle Ehine, and later in the Inn Valley. 

On the other hand, in Westphalia, in Baden, and 
especially in Upper Swabia and Upper Bavaria, as 
far as the river Isar, and also in Switzerland, the 
word Esch is the one in use,* the word being used in 

* ' Campii Sationalibus ' Ghar- 
tar, A.D. 704. B. M. Ancient 
Charter, Cotton MS. Augustus, ii. 
83. * Tutcan horn ' (Twickenham, 
in Middlesex). 

' Landau, 53. 

• Guerard's Pi>lyp. cFIrminon. 
*Arat inter tret sationes pertica tretj 

pp. 134, &c. ; and see Glossarj, p. 

^ Landau, p. 54. 

^ Landau, p. 54. ' Die alte Form 
dieses Wortes ist e&niM*, esmca, 
ezxisch (gothisch atisk), and wird in 
den Qlossen durch Be^etes erklart' 


in England and Germany. 379 

Westphalia, also for the whole arable area.^ Each Ch4p. x. 
also was in use at the date of the earUest form of 
the Bavarian laws (in the seventh century). The 
hedge put up in defence of the sown field is there 
called an ^ ezzisczun.' ^ Still earUer, in the fourth 
century, further East the open fields seem to have 
been called ^ attisk ; ' for Ulphilas, in his translation 
of Mark ii. 23, speaks of the disciples walking over the 
' attisk ' — i.e. over the * etch,' or * eddish * — instead of 
as in the Anglo-Saxon translation over the ^(Bcera.* 
Here, therefore, we have another of the Hitchin 

In Hesse, according to Dr. Landau, the three «Bracii- 
fields are spoken of as — 

(1) In der Lenttm. 

(2) In der Braehe. 

(3) In der Bure. 

On the Main, in the fifteenth century, they were 
spoken of as — 

(1) Xens frichte. 

(2) Brack firichte. 

(3) Bur frichte. 

In Elsass, in the fourteenth century, and on the 
Danube — 

(1) Brochager (Brach field) 

(2) Rurag^r (Fallow field) 

were used, and Dr. Landau says that Esch is sometimes 
put in contrast with ^ Brack.' ^ Whatever may be 

^ Hanaaen'a chapter, ' Zur Oe^ Pertz, p. 309. In m^. x. 21 the 
ichichte dtr Feldtytteme in DeuUch' \ words ' SemitcB convicinalei ' are 
Umdf in his AgrarhiUtijritche AIh \ used of open fields. In the Bur- 
kandlunffen, p. 194. | gundian Laws * Additamentum Pri- 

* ' 8i illom sepem eruperit vel I mum/ tit. 1, * Agri communes.' 
dissipaTerit quern ^seifcsttnTOcant/ ; * Landau, pp. 64-5. 
&C. Textut LegiM Prtmui, z. 16. 


The Open-Field System 

Ohap. X. 

point to 
with South 

the exact meaning of the word Brack — ^whether 
referring to the breaking of the rotation or the 
breaking of the stubble — there can be no doubt of 
the identity of the word with the English Breach and 

It appears, therefore, that in South Germany, 
and especially in the districts once Boman province, 
the three fields representing the rotation of crops 
for many centuries have been known by names closely 
resembUng those used in England. 






Passing next to the divisions of the open fields, 
we take first the Furlongs or Shots (the Latin 

The word * Shot * probably is simply the Anglo- 
Saxon ^ sceot^' or division ; but it is curious to find in 
a document of 1318 mention of ^unam peciam, 
quod vulgariter dicitur Schoet ' at Passau^ near the 
junction of the Inn with the Danube.^ 

The usual word in Middle* and South Oermany ' 
is * Gewende^' in Lower Germany * Wande * or * Wanney 
or * Gewann ' — words which no less than the Furlong * 
refer to the length of the furrow and the turning of 
the plough at the end of it. 

The headland^ on which the plough was turned, 

* Patsau received iu Dame from 
a RomHn legion of Batavi havbg 
been atatioDed there. — ilfon. Boica, 
xxz. p. 88. LADdau, p. 49, 

^ In East Friesland, under the 
one-field system, the word 'Jlagpen * 
is used for ' furlongs.' Hanssen, p. 

in England and Germany. 


is also found in the German three-field system as in Chap. x. 

In a Frankish document quoted by Dr. Landau, it •VoraAer.* 
is called the ' Vorackerj elsewhere it is known as the 
* Anwander * (versura), or ' Vorwart' ^ 

In the English system the furlongs were divided 
into strips or acres by turf balks left in the plough- 
ing, and, as we have seen, on hill-sides, the strips 
became terraces, and the balks steep banks called 
^linces/ It will be remembered that these were The 
produced by the practice of always turning the sod fRl^» 
downhill in the ploughing. There are many Unces 
as far north as in the district of the ^ Teutoberger 
Wald,'' and they occur in great numbers as fSar south 
as the Inn Valley, all the way up to St. Mauritz and 
Pontresina. Although in many places the terraces 
in the Engadine are now grass-land, it is well known 
to the peasantry that they were made by ancient 

The German word for the turf slope of these 
terraces is ^ Bain,* and, like the word balk, it means 
a strip of unploughed turf.^ It is sometimes used for 
the terrace itself. Precisely the same word is used 
for the similar terraces in the Dales of Yorkshire, 
which are still called by the Dalesmen ^ reeans ' or 
*m7W.'* Terraces of the same kind are found in 

* Landau, p. 82. 

' There are great numben to be 
aeen from the railway from Ems as 
far as NordhaoBen on the route to 

* Thus Bambalken ia the torf 
balk left unploughed as a boundary. 

« HaUiwelL 'Bdm; a ridge 
(north). See also Studiei^ bj 

Joseph Lucas, F.GJ3., c. viii., 
where there is an interesting de- 
scription of the * Beins ' in Nidder- 
dale. These terraces occur in 
the neighbouring dales of Hillsdale, 
Bransdale, and Fumdale; and also 
in Wharfdale and the yallej of the 
Bibble, &C 

386 The Open-Field System 

Chap. X. is traversed by the plough/ The Boman land-tribute 

Thefom in Rhaetia and the ' Agri.Decumates ' also consisted of 

the^*^- tithes. K these latter tithes were paid as the Saxon 

^uTrwt ecclesiastical tithes were, by every tenth strip being 

was taken, set asidc for them in the ploughing, the words of the 

Bavarian law have an important significance. The 

judex or villicus is required by the laws to see that 

the colonus or servus shall render by way of ctgra- 

rium or land tribute according to what he has, from 

every thirty modii three modii {i.e. the tenth) — ' lawful 

* andecence {andecenas legitimas)^ that is (the rod having 

* ten feet) four rods in width and forty in length, to 

* plough, to sow, to hedge, to gather, to lead, and to 

* store.' ^ 

Now why is the peculiar phraseology used * from 

* 30 modii 3 modii ' ? Surely either because three 
modii, according to the ' Agrimensores,' went to the 
juger, or because the actual acre of the locality was 
sown with three modii of seed,* so that in either case it 
was a way of saying * from every ten acres one acre.' 
Further, the form and measure of the acre is de- 
scribed, and it is called the ' lawful andecenaJ The 
word itself in its pecuHar etymology possibly contains 
a reference to the one strip set apart in ten for the 
tithe. Be this as it may, here again, in another point 
connected with the ' acre,' we find the nearest and 
earliest analogies in South Germany within the old 
Roman province. 

' Pertz, 278. Lex Baiuwario- 
rum texttu legis primus, 13. 

' The Agrimensores reckoned 3 
modii of land to the jugerum. Qr<H 
matici Veteres, i. p. 869 (13). In 
general 5 modii of wheat seed was 

sown on the jugerum, but the 'Itnu 
ftU andecena, being onlj about 
three-fifths of a jugerum, would re- 
quire only 3 modii of wheat seed to 
sow it. 

in England and Germany. 9S7 

Lastly, we have still to explain the reason of the Oha». x. 
difference between the form of the Boman ' actus * """"^ 
and * jugerum * and that of the early Bavarian and 
JInglish acre. 

The Egyptian arura was 100 cubits square.^ 
The Greek irkiOpov was 10 rods or 100 feet square.* 
The Eoman actus was 12 rods or 120 feet square. 
The Eoman * jugerum * was made up of two 
^ actus * placed side by side, and was the area to be 
ploughed in a day. 

In all these cases the yoke of two oxen is assumed, Fom of 
and the length of the acre, or 'day-work,' is the daj's-work 
length of the furrow which two oxen could properly ^th^S^ 
plough at a stretch.* "'^^^ ^ 

* o oxen in 

The reason of the increased length of the Bavarian tiw tMm. 
and the English acre was, no doubt, connected with 
the fact of the larger team.* 

If the Bavarian team was of eight oxen, like that 
•of the English and Welsh and Scotch common plough, 
it would seem perfectly natural that with four times 
the strength of team the furrow might also be assumed 
to be four times the usual length. In this way the 
<3hreek and Roman furrow of 10 or 12 rods may na- 
turally have been extended north of the Alps into the 
* furlong ' of forty rods. 

» Herod, ii. 168. 11, 27. 

' According to Suidas it waa ^ The Bev. W. Denton, in hit 

-equal to four Spovpai, and Homer Servia and the Servians, p. 186, 

mentions rerpayvov as a usual field mentions Servian ploughs with six, 

representing a day's work. (Od. ten, or twelve oxen in the team, 

xviii. 374.) Hence rrrpayvov > ' as See also mention of similar teams 
much as a man can plough in a day.* i of oxen or buffaloes in Turkey — 

* ' Sulcum autem ducere longi- Reports on Tenures of Land, 18C&- 

orem quam pedum centumvi^nti 70, p. 306. 
:f^ntrarium pecori e8t.^»^CoL ii. 


888 The Open-Field System 

Obat.x . Now, there is a remarkable proof that long furrows^ 
and therefore probably large teams, were used in' 
Bavaria, then within the Eoman province of Bhsetia^ 
as early as the second century. The remains of the 
Bavarian ' Hoch&cker ' are described as running un- 
interruptedly for sometimes a kilometre and more,. 
i.e. five times the length of the English furlong. 
And a Roman road with milestones, dating as early 
as A.D. 201, in one place runs across these long fur- 
rows in a way which seems to prove that they were 
older than the road.^ 
The Professor Meitzen argues from this fact that these 

^iwrian <Hochacker' with long furrows are pre-German 
ifiker'uid jj^ thesc distrfcts, and in the absence of evidence of 

their long ' 

fiirrowf. their Celtic origin he inclines to attribute them to the 
husbandry of officials or contractors on the imperial 
waste lands, who had at their command hundreds of 
slaves and heavy plough teams. 

This may be the solution of the puzzling question 
of the origin of the Bavarian ' Hochacker,' but the 
presence of the team of eight oxen in Wales and 
Scotland as well as in England, and the mention of 
teams of six and eight oxen in the Vedas* as used 
by Aryan husbandmen in the East, centuries earlier,, 
makes it possible, if not probable, that the Romans^ 
in this instance as in so many others, adopted and 
adapted to their purpose a practice which they found 
already at work, connected perhaps with a heavier 
soil and a clumsier plough than they were used to- 
south of the Alps.® 

* * Der Ultegte Anbcni der Deut- \ * There are two other point* 
ichen,^ VonA.Meitzen, Jena, 1881. which bear upon the Roman con- 

' Zimmei's Altindisches Leben, 
p. 237. 

nexion with the acre* 

(1) If the length of the furrow 

in England and Germany. 



We now pass from the strips to the holdings. 
The typical EngHsh holding of a serf in the open 
fields was the yard-land of normally thirty acres (ten 

Chip. X. 

-was to be increased, it would be na- 
tural to jump from one well-known 
measure to another. The stadtum, 
or length of the foot race, was one- 
eighth of a mile, and was com- 
posed of ten of the Greek ififia. 
The * furlong ' is also the one-eighth 
of a mile, and contains ten chains. 
But the stadium contained 626 
Roman feet or 600 Gbeek feet — 
about 607 English statute feet. 
•How does this comport with its 
tK>ntaining 40 rods ? The fact is, 
the rod varied in different provinces, 
and the Romans adopted probably 
the rod of the country in measuring 
•the acre. 'Perticas autem juxta 
loca Tel crassitudinem terrarum, 
prout proyincialibus placuit videmus 
■esse dispositas, quasdam dedmpedas, 
quibusdam duos additos pedes, ali- 
-quas yero zt. vel x. et viL pedum 
diffinitas.' — Pauca de Mensuritf 
ixrom. Ftf^., Lachmann, &c., p. d71. 
Forty rods of 10 cubits, or 15 feet 
each, would equal the 600 feet of 
the Greek stadium. In fact, the 
English statute furloug is based 
upon a rod of 16^ feet. There is 
also the further fact that the later 
Agrimensores expressly mention a 
^stadialis ager of 626 feet' (Lach- 
mann, Isodorus, p. 368; De Men- 
mris excerpfa, p. 872). So that it 
seems to be clear that the stadium, 
like the furlong, was used not only 

in measuring distances, but also in 
the division of fields. 

(2) We have seen that the acre 
strips in England were often called 
' balks,' because of the ridge of un- 
broken turf by which they were 
divided the one from the other. We 
have further seen that the word 
<balk' in Welsh and in English 
was applied to the pieces of turf left 
unplougfaed between the furrows 
by careless ploughing. There is a 
Vedic word which has the same 

The Latin word ' scamnum ' had 
precisely this meaning, and also it 
was applied by the Agrimensores 
to a piece of land broader than its 
length. The 'scamnum' of the 
Roman 'castrum' was the strip 
600 feet long and 60 to 80 feet 
broad — nearly the shape of the 
English and Bavarian *acre' — set 
apart for the * legati ' and ' tribunes. ' 
The fields in a conquered district, 
instead of being allotted in squares 
by ' centuriation/ were divided into 
< scamna' and * striga ; ' and the fields 
thus divided into pieces broader 
than their length were called ' agri 
scamnati/ while those divided into 
pieces longer than their breadth 
were called ' agri strigati.' Length 
was throughout reckoned from 
north to south; breadth from east 
to west Frontinus states that the 


The Open-Field System 

<^p. X. scattered acres in each of the three fields), to which 
""""^ an outfit of two oxen was assigned as ^setene* or 
* stuhtj and which descended from one generation to 
another as a complete indivisible whole. 

The German word for the yard-land is hqf or hub ; 
in its oldest form huoha^ huba^ hova} And Aventinus^ 
writing early in the sixteenth century of the holdings 
in Bavaria in the thirteenth century, distinguishes the 
hof as the holding belonging to a quadriga^ or yoke 
of four oxen, taxed at sixty ^ asses,' from the hub or 
holding of the Hga or yoke of two oxen, and taxed 

The hub 
or yard* 

' arva publics ' in the provincee were 
cultivated * more antiquo ' on this 
method of the ' ager per strigas et 
per scamna divisus et asaignatua/ 
whilst the fields of the 'colonife* 
of Roman citisens or soldiers planted 
in the conquered districts were 
' centuriated.' See IVontinus, lib. 
L p. 2y and fig. S in the plates, and 
also fig. 109 ; and see RudorflTs ob- 
servations, iL 290-298. The whole 
matter is, boweyer, very obscure, 
and it is difficult to identify the 
< ager scamnatus ' witb the Romano- 
German open fields. Frontinus 
was probably not specially ac- 
quainted with the latter. 

^ The meaning of 'hub' is 
perhaps simply 'a holding/ from 

The term ' yard-land/ or ' gyrd- 
laodes,' seems to be simply the 
holding measured out by the ' gyrd,' 
or rod ; just as gyrd idso means a 
*rood.' Compare the *verg^' of 

The Roman 'perdca' was the 
typical rod or pole used by the 
Agrimeusores, and on account of its 

use in assigning lands to the mem*^ 
hers of a colony, it is sometimes 
represented on medals by the side 
of the augurial plough. By trans- 
ference, the whole area of land 
measured out and assigned to a 
colony was known to the Agri- 
mensores as its 'pertica' (Lach- 
mann, Frontinus, pp. 20 and 26;. 
Hyginus, p. 117 ; Siculos Flaocus,. 
p. 169 ; Isodorus, p. 369). 

The Latin 'virga,' used in later 
times instead of '^rtica* for the 
measuring rod, followed the same 
law of transference with still closer 
likeness to the Saxon ' gyrd.' Both 
'yirga' and 'gyrd' -a rod and a 
measure. Both * virga term * and 
'gyrd landes*«>(l) the rood, and 
(2) the normal holding — the virgate 
or yaid-land. The word ' virgate, 
or 'virgada,' was used in Brittany 
as well as in £ngland. In the 
Cartuktire dt Redon it is, however, 
evidently the equivalent of the 
Welsh 'Randir.' See the twelve 
references to the word ' virgada ' 
in the index of the CurtuUtry. 

in England and Germany. 391 

at thirty * asses.' ^ If the tax in this case were one Chap. x. 

* as ' per acre, then the hof contained sixty acres, and """""" 
the hiib thirty acres. So that, as in the yard-land, 
ten acres in each field would go under the three-field 
system to the pair of oxen. 

The hub of thirty morgen seems to have been the wide p»- 

typical holding of the serf over a very wide area, JJi^Sb^ 

according to the earliest records. Whilst as a rule **^ "'*®^ 

^ ff60 in 

absent from North Germany, Dr. Landau traces it in Middle 
Lower Saxony, in Engem, in Thuringia, in Grapfeld, SfnSS^ 
in Hesse, on the Middle Ehine and the Moselle, in 
the old Niederlahngau, Bheingau, Wormsgau, Lob- 
dengau and Spiergau, in Elsass, in Swabia, and in 

The double huf of sixty morgen also occurs on 
the Weser and the Ehine in Lower Saxony and in 
Bavaria.* The word * huf first occurs in a document 
of A.D. 474.* 

The passage in the Bavarian laws of the seventh 
century, already referred to, declaring the tithe to 
be 'three modii from every thirty* modii— or one 
' lawful andecena ' from each ten that, in the typical 
case taken, ' a man has ' — would seem to suggest that 
ten andecencB or acre strips in each field (or thirty in 
all) was a typical holding, whilst the use of the 
Roman rod of ten feet points to a Eoman influence. 

Further, the fact of the prevalence of the double 
and single huf or huh of sixty and thirty acres over 
so large an area once Eoman province, irresistibly 
suggests a connexion with the double and single yoke 

* Du Gauge, under * Huba/ 

^ In the will of Perpetaus, 

' Landau, p. 30. ' Id. 37-8. Meitzen, Au^eitunf/, &c., p. 14. 

392 The Open-Field System 

Chip. X. of oxen given as outfit to the Boman veteran, with 
The double such an allowance of seed as to make it probable, 
six^mor- ^ ^^ hsLVB Seen, that the double yoke received 
ou^t '^^ normally fifty or sixty jugera, and the single yoke 
oxen. twenty-five or thirty jugera. 

It is worth remembering, further, that in the Bava- 
rian law before quoted, limiting the week-work of the 
servi on the ecclesiastical estates to three days a week, 
an exception is made allowing unlimited week-work 
to be demanded from servi who had been supplied 
mth their outfit of oxen de novo by their lord. So 
that there is a chain of evidence as to the system of 
supplying the holders of ' yard-lands,' * huben,' and 

* yokes,' with an outfit of oxen, of which the Kelso 

* iiuhtj the Saxon * setene^' the outfit of the serous 
under this Bavarian law, and that of the Roman 
veteran, are links.^ 

It is hardly needful to repeat that it does not 
follow from this that the system of allotting about 
thirty acres (varying in size with the locality) to the 
pair of oxen was a Boman invention. The clear fact 
is that it was a system followed in Boman provinces 
under the later empire, as well as in Germany and 
England afterwards ; and, as the holding of thirty 
acres was found to be the allotment to each * tate ' or 
household under the Irish tribal system, it may 
possibly have had an earher origin and a wider 
prevalence than the period or extent of Boman rule. 
Scattanng rpj^^ Scattering of the strips composing a yard- 
•tripe com- land^ or hub^ over the open fields should also be once 

posing , ^ 

them. more mentioned in comparing the two. It was not 

* The practice was long coutinued in what was called the 'steel 
bow tenancy ' of later times. 

in England and Germany. 893 

confined to the * yard-land ' or * hub.' It arose, as we .Chaf. x. 
have seen, in Wales, from the practice of joint plough- 
ing, and was the result of the method of dividing the 
joint produce, probably elsewhere also, under the 
tribal system. It is the method of securing a fair 
division of common land in Scotland and Ireland and 
Palestine to this day, no less than under the Enghsh 
and German three-field system. And the remarkable 
passage from Siculus Flaccus has been quoted, which 
so clearly describes a similar scattered ownership, 
resulting probably from joint agriculture carried on 
by ' vicinij as often to be met with in his time on 
Boman ground. This passage proves that the Boman 
holding (like the Saxon yard-land and the German 
Jitib) might be composed of a bundle of scattered 
pieces ; but this scattering was too widely spread from 
India to Ireland for it to be, in any sense, distinc- 
tively Boman. It perhaps resulted, as we have seen, 
from the heaviness of the soil or the clumsiness of the 
plough, and the necessity of co-operation between free 
or semi-servile tenants, in order to produce a plough 
team of the requisite strength according to the cus- 
tom of the country ; and this necessity probably 
arose most often in the provinces north of the Alps. 

Another point distinctive of the ' yard-land ' and The dngia 
the * hub ' was the absence of division among heirs, JJ^J"^ 
the single succession, the indivisibility of the bundle 1^'.*^^ 
of scattered strips in the holding. And this finds its i^id.' 
nearest Ukeness perhaps, as we have seen, in the 
probably single succession of the semi-servile holder, 
•or mere ' usufructuarius * under Boman law, and 
•especially under the semi-military rule of the border 


The Open-Field. System 

Chap X. 

The 8«zoD 
and the 
High Ger- 

Lastly, before leaving the comparison between the 
yard-land and hitb it may be asked why the serf who 
held it in England was called a Gebur. 

The word mUanus of the Domesday Survey i» 
associated with other words, such as triUicus^ vUlata, 
viUenage^ all connected with serfdom, and all traceable 
through Romance dialects to the Roman ' viUa.^ 

But the Anglo-Saxon word was ' Gebur. ^ It wa» 
the Gebura who were holders of yard-lands. 

We trace this word Gebur in High German dia- 
lects. We find it in use in the High German trans- 
lation of the laws of the Alamanni, called the ^ Speculi 
Suevici^ where free men are divided into three 
classes : — 

(1) The ' aemperfrien ' = lords with vassals under 

(2) The ' mitderfrien ' = the men or vassals of the 

(3) The ' geburen ' = liberi incolcPj or * fri-lant- 
ssBzzen ' [i.e. not slaves].^ 

The word ' gebur ' or * gipur * occurs also in the 
High German of Otfried's * Paraphrase of the Gos- 
pels,'* of the ninth century, and in the Alamannic 
dialect of Notger's Psalms for vicinus.^ 

Here, again, the South German connexion seems 
to be the nearest to the Anglo-Saxon. 

* Juris Prov. Alemann. c. 2. 
Pcbilteri edido. 

» Otfried, V. 4, 80 ; ii 14, 215. 

* Notger, Psalm i^UiL 14;. 
IxxviiL 4 i Ixiz. 7. 

in England and Germany 


Chap. X. 

Prom the yard-land, or hubj the holding of a serf. The 'Mda. 
we may pass to the typical holding of the full free i SSlSm, 
landholder, connected in England with the full team ^t^' 
of eight oxen. 

The Saxon hide^ or the familia of Bede, was Latin- 
ised in Saxon charters into * caaatam.* We have found 
in the St. Gall charters the word ' caaa * used for 
the homestead. The present Bomanish word for 
house is * casa^* and for the verb * to dwell,' * casar.* 
And there is the Italian word ^ ccLsata^' still meaning 
a family. Thus the connexion between the ^familia ' 
of Bede and the ^ casatum * of the charters is natural 
Bede wrote more classical Latin than the ecclesiastical 
scribes in the charters. The hide was the holding 
of a family.^ Hence it was sometimes, like the yard- 
land or holding of a servile family, called a ' hitmsCj 
which was Anglo-Saxon, and also High German for 
family.^ But the Saxon hide, also, was translated into 
phughland or carucate^ corresponding with the full 
team of eight oxen. 

Generally in Kent, and sometimes in Sussex, The* can- 
Berks, and Essex, we found in addition to or instead i^/ ^ 
of the hide or carucate, or * terra unius aratri,* aoUna^ fi^^' 
suUungSy or svmUungs — the land pertaining to a ^ suhl^' 
the Anglo-Saxon word for plough. This word is 

^ Oompare Cod, Theod, IX. tit. 
zlii. 7 : ' Quot mandpia in pnediis 
occupatis • • . quot sint casarii vel 
coUmif &G. 

' See Ancient Laws of England^ 
Thorpe, p. 79, under wer-gilds, s. 

TiL, where ' hiwisc ' - ' hide.' See 
also * hiwiskif 'hiwiaehi,* for famiUa* 
in ^St, Paulea Olossen,* aizth or 
serenth century. Braune's AUhock» 
deutMches Lesdmch, p. 4. 


The Open-Field System 

The 'gioc/ 
or ' jt|g;am.' 

The* hide* 
and 'cen- 
toria' the 

Chap. X. surely of Boman rather ihan of German origin. The 
Fiedmontese ^eloira^ and the Lombardic ^ sciloiray 
and the Old French ' siUeoire^' are surely allied to the 
Eomanish ' suilg^ and the Latin ^ sulcus' 

Again, in Kent the quarter of a * sulung * (answer- 
ing to the yard-land or virgate of other parts) is 
called in the early charters a ' gioc/ ' ioclet/ or 
' iochlet/ ^ Le. a yoke or small-yoke of land. We have 
seen in the St. Gall charters, also, mention of ' juchs ' 
or * jochs,' which, however, were apparently jugera. 
This word gioe is surely allied to the Italian ' giogo^ 
and the Latin jugum. 

Here, then, we have the hide the typical holding 
of a free family, as the centuria was under Boman 
^^firee j^^^ j^ ^^^^ Saxou thauc might hold many hides, and 

so might and did the lord of a Boman villa hold more 
than one ^ centuria ' within its bounds. Still Columella 
took as his type of a Boman farm the ^ centuria ' of 200 
acres,' and calculated how much seed, how many 
oxen, how many opera^ or day-works of slaves, or 
* coloni ' were required to till it. The hide, double 
or single, was also a land measure, and contained 
eight or four yard-lands, and so also was the ' centu- 
ria ' a land measure divisible into eight normal hold- 
ings allotted with single yokes. Both also became, as 
we have seen, units of assessment. But in England 
the hide was the unit. Under the Boman system of 
taxation the jugum was the unit. 

' B, M. Ancient Charters, ii. 
Cotton MS. Aug. ii. 42, a.d. 837. 
The Welsh ihort yoke was that 
of two oxen, ue, a fourth part of 
the full plough team. 

* Columella, ii. 12. The calcu- 
lation in this passage, how many 
opera or day-works a farm requires 
shows striking resemblance to the 
later manorial system. 

in England and Germany. 397 

This variation, however, confirms the connexion. Chap. x. 
The Boman jugum^ or yoke of two oxen, made a 
complete plough. Nothing less than the hide was 
the complete holding in England, because a team 
of eight oxen was required for English ploughing. 
The yard-land was only a fractional holding, incom- 
plete for purposes of ploughing without co-operation. 
Hence it would seem that the complete plough was 
really the unit in both cases. 

How closely the English hidation followed the TheSaum 
lines of the Roman ^jugatio ' has already been seen. ^^^' 
When to the many resemblances of the hide to the Boman 
•centuria,' and of the *jugum' to the virgate, re- 'J'***^ 
garded as units of assessment, are now added the 
other connecting links found in this chapter, in things, 
in figures, and in words, between the Saxon open- 
field system, and that of the districts of Upper 
Germany, so long under Boman rule, the English 
hidation may well be suspected to go back to 
Boman times, and to be possibly a survival of the 
Boman jitgation. When Henry of Huntingdon, in 
describing the Domesday Survey, instead of saying 
that inquiry was made how many hides and how 
many virgates there were, uses the words * quot 
jugaia et quot virgata terras,' ^ he at any rate used 
the exact words which describe what in the Codex 
Theodosianus is spoken of as taxation *per juga- 

Not, as already said, that the Bomans intro- 
duced into Britain the division of land according to 
plough teams, and the number of oxen contributed 

> Du Gange, ' Jugatum/ | ' See Marquardt, ii. 226 ir. 

398 The Open-Field System 

Chap.x. to the plough team. It would grow, as we have 
seen, naturally out of tribal arrangements whenever 
the tribes settled and became agricultural, instead of 
wandering about with their herds of cattle. It was 
found in Wales and Ireland and Scotland, in Bohemia, 
apparently in Slavonic districts also and further east.^ 
It is much more likely that the Bomans, according to 
their usual custom, adopted a barbarian usage and 
seized upon an existing and obvious unit as the basis 
of provincial taxation. 

The Frisian tribute of hides was perhaps an ex- 
ample of this. The Frisians were a pastoral people, and 
a hide for every so many oxen was as ready a mode 
of assessing the tribute as counting the plough teams 
would be in an agricultural district. The word ' hide,* 
which still baffles all attempts to explain its origin, 
may possibly have had reference to a similar tribute. 
Boman Evcu in England it does not follow that it was in its 
inFrisia Origin conuccted with the plough team. Its real 
Ed«^ equivalent was the familiar or caaaium — the land of 
a family — and in pastoral districts of England and 
Wales the Roman tribute may possibly have been, if 
not a hide from each plough team, a hide from every 
family holding cattle ; just as in A.D. 1175 Henry 11. 
bound his Irish vassal, Roderic O'Connor, to pay 
annually ^ de singulis animalibus decimum coriuni 
placahile mercatoribus ' — perhaps a tenth of the hides 
he himself received as tribute from his own tribes- 
men.^ The supposition of such an origin of the con- 
nexion of the word ' hide ' with the * land of a family * 

' Meitzen, Ausbreitunff, pp. 21 I * Feed. vol. i. p. 31. Robertson • 
4»nd ^. I Historical Essays, p. 133. 

in England and Germany. 399 

or of a plough team is mere conjecture ; but the fact Ceap. x. 
of the connexion is clear. All these three things, ~^ 
the hide, the hiwiscej and the suUung^ and their sub- 
division the yard-land^ were the units of British 
* hidation,' just as the centuria and the jugum were 
the units of the Roman * jugatio/ 


Passing now to the serfdom and the services 
under which the * yard-lands ' and the * huben ' were 
held, it may at least be said that their practical 
identity suggests a common origin. 

We learned from the Rectitudines and from the 
Laws of Inej to make a distinction between the two 
component parts of the obligations of the * gebur ' in 
respect of his yard-land. 

There was (1) the gafolj and (2) the week- 

The gafol was found to be a semi-servile incident 
to the yard-land. The week-work was the most 
servile one. 

A man otherwise free and possessing a homestead 
already, could, under the laws of Ine, hire a yard- 
land of demesne land and pay gafol for it, without in- 
curring liability to week-work. But if the lord found 
for him both the yard- land and the homestead, then 
he was a complete ' gebur ' or * villanus,' and must 
do week-work also. 

Taking the gafol first, and descending to details. The Sazon 
it was found to be complex — i.e. it included gafol and*gafoi- 
and gafol-yrth. ^ 


The Open-Field System 

Gbav. X. 


The gafol of the * gebur/ as stated in the Ree* 
titudines^ was this : — 

For gafoLproptr s — 

1(X^. at Michaelmas. 

aSsestersofbeer 1 ^t Martinmas. 
2 fowls j 

1 lamb at Easter, or 2J. 
For gafdyrthi — the ploughing' of 3 acres, and sowing of 
it from the ' gebur's ' own bam. 

Comparing \he gafol proper with the census of the 
St. Gall charters, and the tribute of the * servi ' of the 
Church under the Alamannic laws of a.d. 622, the 
resemblance was found to be remarkably close. 

The tribute of the * servi ' of the Church was thus 
stated in the latter : — 

16 siclad of beer. 
A sound spring pig. 
2 modia of bread. 
5 fowls. 
20 eggs. 

As regards this tribute in kind the likeness is 
obvious, and it further so closely resembles the food- 
rent of the Welsh free tribesmen as to suggest that 
it may have been a survival of ancient tribal 
dues — a suggestion which the word * gafol * itself 
confirms. It seems to be connected with the Ahgabe^ 
or food gifts of the German tribesmen.^ 

We saw that the word gafol was the equivalent 
of tributum in the Saxon translation of the Gospels. 
* Does your master pay tribute ? ' * Gylt he gafol? ' 

Further, the French evidence seems to show 

* Diez, p. 160. * Gabella; Por- 
tnguese, Spanish, and Provencal 
* tax. French gnhelle » salt-tax. 

Italian ' gabeUan^ to tax, from v. bw 
gifaUf Goth, giban. 

in England and Germany. 401 

that the later manorial payments in kind and services Ghap. x. 
upon Frankish manors were, to some extent, a sur- 
vival of the old Boman exactions in Gaul.^ And 
the tribute of the Alamannic and Bavarian laws, and 
of the St. Gall and other charters, was found to be 
equally clearly a survival of the Boman tributum 
in the German province of Bhaetia and the ^ Agri 

But in addition to the ^ gafol ' in kind, there was The &«»» 
the gafoUyrth ; and of this also we found in the St. yrth^ and 
Gall charters numerous examples. In the many cases f^^™**^ 
where the owner of homesteads and land surrendered Ji^^^ 
them to the Abbey, and henceforth paid tribute to 
the Abbey, there was not only the tribute in kind, 
but also the ploughing of so many acres, sometimes 
of one, sometimes of two, and sometimes of one in 
each zelga or field — to be ploughed, and reaped, and 
carried by the tenant. The combination of the dues 
in kind and in ploughing, with sometimes other 
services, made up the tributum in seivitium — i.e. the 
gafol of the tributarius, or ^ gafol-gelder, which he 
paid under the Alamannic laws to his lord, the latter 
thenceforth paying the public tributum for the 
land to the State. 

Perhaps we may go one step further. 

From the remarkable resemblance of the English Notaiwsyi 
ga/ol-yrth and its South German equivalent the in- ***" 
ference was drawn that this peculiar rent taken in 
the form of the ploughing of a definite number of 
acres, was probably a survival of the Boman tenths, 

^ See Gh]idrard*8 Pclyptiqne ilr- 
tnmon^ L chap. liiL Also Lehiitfroa*t 
IndiiyA. Mmfwng, Ut. iL c 1 ; And 

D D 

IL VaitE7*8 EtudM mtr U RSgime 
Fkumcier de la France^ Premiire 

402 The Open-Field System 

Chap. X. or Other proportion of produce claimed as rent from 
settlers on the ager pvhlicus of the * Agri Decumates,* 
and of Rhaetia. Indications were found that the 
agrariurrij or tenth of the arable produce, may have 
been taken in actual acres like the Saxon tithes — i.e. 
in the produce of so many ^ andecena^y the ploughing, 
sowing, reaping, and garnering of which were done 
by the tenant. 

But under Soman usage the proportion taken 
was not always a tenth. The State rent was nominally 
a tithe. But it was in fact so extortionately gathered 
as sometimes in Sicily to treble the tithe.^ Hyginus 
also says that the ' vectigal,' or tax, was taken in 
some provinces in a certain part of the crop, in some 
a fifth, in others a seventh.' In Italy the dues from 
the Agri Medietates perhaps surviving in the later 
mitayer system, amounted sometimes to one-half. At 
any rate, the proportion varied. 

Now the Saxon *gafol-yrth* of the yard-land of 
thirty acres seems, according to the ^ Bectitudines,' as 
we have seen, to have been the produce of three acres 
in the wheat-field, ploughed by the *gebur* and sown 
with seed from his own barn. For it will be remem- 
bered that the first season after the yard-land was given 
there was to be no gafol, and in the gebur's outfit 
only seven out of the ten acres in the wheat-field 

^ So Cicero asserted against 
Verres. The seed, he argued, was 
fairly to be taken at about a me- 
dimnus to each jugerum. Eight me- 
dimni of com per acre would be a 
good crop ; ten would be the out- 
side that under all possible favour 
of the gods the jugerum could yield. 
Therefore the tithe ought not to 

exceed at the highest estimate one 
medinmus per jugerum. But the 
tax-gather had taken three medimni 
per jugerum, and so by extortion had 
trAied the tithes, — In Verremy act 
ii. lib. iii. c. 47, 48, 49. 

* Hygimi de lAmitQnu Coneti^ 
tuendie, p. 204. 

in England and Germany. 403 

were to be handed over to him already sown, leaving Chap. x. 
tnree unsown, i.e. probably the three which other- 
wise he must have sown for the gafol-yrth due to 
his lord. As ten acres of the yard-land were pro- 
bably always in fallow, three acres of wheat was a 
heavier gafol-yrth than a fairly gathered tithe would 
have been. 

It would therefore seem probable that as the 

* gafol ' in kind may be traced back to the Roman 
tributum^ itself perhaps a survival of the tribal food- 
rents of the conquered provinces, so the * gafol-yrth * 
may be traced back to the Boman decumas^ or other 
proportion of the crop due by way of land-tax or 
rent to the State. And this survival of the complex 
tribute or gafol, made up of its two separate elements, 
from Boman to Saxon times, becomes all the more 
^striking when it is considered also that it was due 
from a normal holding with an outfit of a pair of 
oxen, both in the case of the Saxon yard-land and of 
the Boman veteran's allotment. 


Proceeding still further, besides the gafol and xhe Saxon 
gafol-yrth^ and yet distinct from the week-work^ was ^^""^^ 
the liabiHty of the serfs on the Saxon manor to cer- t^he Romar 
tarn boon-work or services ad preces ; sometimes m munera.* 
ploughing or reaping a certain number of acres of the 
lord's demesne land in return for grass land or other 
advantages, or without any special equivalent; 
sometimes in going errands or carrying goods to 
market or otherwise, generally known as averagium. 

* He shall land-gafol pay, and shall ridan and averian 

D B 2 

404 The Open-Field System 

Chap. X. * and lade Icedan ' for his lord. So this boon-work in 
addition to * gafol ' is described in the * Bectitudines/ 
The various kinds of manorial ^ averagium ^ 
were, as we have seen, often called in mediaeval Latin 
angaricBj a going on errands or postal service ; para- 
veredi^ or packhorse services ; and carroperoe^ or 
waggon services. 

We have seen how these services resembled the 
angarioB and the parangarice and paraveredi^ which 
were included among the * sordida munera ' or * obse- 
quicB ' of the Theodosian Code in force in Bhsetia in 
the fourth century, found still surviving, though 
transformed into manorial services, in the same dis- 
tricts in the seventh century and afterwards, under 
the Bavarian laws and in the monastic charters. The 
carrying services and other boon-work on Saxon 
manors closely resembled those of the Frankish 
charters and the Bavarian laws, and probably 
therefore shared theu: Boman origin. 
The week- There remains to complete the serfdom its most 
wkofthe gei-yiie incident, the week-work — that survival of the 
originally unrestricted claim of the lord of the Boman 
villa to his slave's labour which, limited, as we have 
seen, according to the evidence of the Alamannic 
laws, under the influence of Christian humanity by 
the monks or clergy, in respect of the servi on their 
estates, to three days a week, became the mediaeval 
triduanum servitium. The words of the Alamannic 
law are worth re-quoting. 

* Servi dimidiam partem eibi et 
dimidiam in dominico arativum red- 
dant, Et ei super fuec est, sigttz 
BBBYI XCCLB8IABIIGI itafaciunt, tres 
dies eibi et tree m domimcoj 

Let aervi do plough service, half 
for themselves and half in demesnA. 
And if there he any further [service] 
let tliem work as the eervi of the 
Ckurehf three days for themselves^ 
and three in demesne. 

in England and Germany. 405 

This remarkable passage in the Alamannic code Ciiap.x , 
of A.D. 622 seems to be the earliest version extant 
of the Magna Charta of the agricultural servus, who 
thus early upon ecclesiastical estates was transformed 
from a slave into a serf. 



There is yet another point in which the coxxe- ^''^?™ 
spondence between British and Continental usages is from abo?« 

.1 i_» and froan 

worth remarking. below. 

The community in serfdom on a lord's estate was 
both by Saxon and Continental usage recruited from 
above and from below. 

Free men from above, by voluntary arrangement Free-men 
with a lord, could and did descend into serfdom, eerfi. 
The Saxon free tenant could, by free contract, 
arrange to take a yard-land, and if he were already 
provided with a homestead and oxen, he became a 
* gafol-gelder,* or tributarius of his lord, without in- 
curring the liability to the more servile * week-work,* 
just as was the case when, under the Alamannic laws, 
free men made surrender of their holdings to the 
Abbey of St. Gall. In both cases, as we saw, week- 
work was added if the lord found the homestead and 
the outfit. 

On the other hand, whenever a lord provided his fflaree be- 
slave with an outfit of oxen, and gave him a part in 
the ploughing, he rose out of slavery into serfdom. 
To speak more correctly, he rose into that middle 
class of tenants who, by whatever name they were 


The Open-Field System 

Chap. X. 

Grades in 
doriog the 
period of 

aod * liU.' 

made into 

The lets 
of the laws 
^f Bthel- 

known at first, afterwards became confounded together 
in the ranks of mediaeval serfdom. 

There were, in fact, grades in the community in 
serfdom not only like those of the Saxon geburs and 
cottiers, but also corresponding to the historical 
origin of the serfs. Thus, as we have seen in the 

* Polyptique d'Irminon ' and in many other cartularies 
and surveys of monastic estates, there are coloni and 
liti among the serfs, names bearing witness to the 
historical origin of the serfs, though the difierence 
between them had all but vanished. 

There is a passage in the Ripuarian laws, ' If any 
one shall make his slave into a '' tributarius," or a 
" litus," &c.' 1 The * lidus ' of the ' Lex Salica ' was 
under a lordship, and classed with * servi,' and by a 
legal process he could be set free.^ We have noticed 
the passage in the Theodosian Code which speaks of 

* coloni ' and ' tributarii ' on British estates, and also 
the mention by Ammianus Marcellinus of * tributarii ' 
in Britain. We have noticed also the three grades of 
' laets,' the only class of tenants mentioned in the laws 
of Ethelbert. 

Now, whatever doubt there might be as to what 
were the * laets ' on Kentish * hams ' and ' tuns ' in the 
sixth century, if they stood alone as isolated pheno- 
mena ; taken together with the ' tributarii ' and * coloni ' 
and 'liti' on Continental manors, there can be hardly 
any doubt that they belonged to the same middle 

» Tit. liii. 

* Lex Salica, tit. xxxviii. ' De 
homicidiis Nervorum et ancillarum. 
T. Si quia homo ingenuus lidum 
alienum expoliayerit/ &c. See also 
tit xvi. See also tit. xxvL ^ De 

libertis extra consilium Domini aui 
dimissis ' (xxxv. ' De libertis di- 
miasis ingenuis '). * Si quia alienum 
Uetwn ante rege per dinarium m- 
gefnuwn demiseritf Sec 

in England and Germany. 407 

class of semi-servile tenants to which allusion has Ohap.x. 
been made. Their presence on the manorial ^ hams ' Sorviyaia 
and * tuns * of England revealed in the earliest his- ^^ ^f 
torical record after the Saxon Conquest, taken in j^jjj^ 
connexion with the many other points brought 
together in this chapter, makes the inference very 
strong indeed that they, like the * coloni,' * tributarii,' 
and Miti' on Continental manors, were a survival from 
that period of transition from Eoman to German rule, 
during which the names of the various classes of 
semi-servile tenants, afterwards merged in the common 
status of mediaeval serfdom, still preserved traces of 
their origin. 


In one sense both in England and Germany the ^^^ free 
holders of the * yard-lands ' and * huben,' though serfs, uo^ee ia 
were free. As regards their lords they were serfs. '*°"*' 
As regards the slaves they were free. In this respect 
they resembled very closely the Eoman * coloni ' on a 
private villa. 

On the Frankish manors there were two classes of (^t^^, f ' 


these semi-servile tenants — *mansi ingenuiles,' who tenant*. 
were free from the * week-work ; ' and * mansi serviles,' 
from whom * week-work ' was due. Probably owing 
to the nature of the Saxon conquest the first of these 
classes seems to have practically become absorbed in 
the other. The laws of Ine, indeed, mention the gafol- 
gelder who, providing his own homestead, did not 
become liable to * week-work ' like the * gebur.' But 

408 The Open-Field System 

Chap. X. in the Btatements of the services on the manors of 
" Hissebume and Tidenham no such class appears. 

In the * Kectitudines ' there is no class mentioned be- 
tween the tfianey who is lord of the manor, and the 
* geneats * — i.e. the * gebur ' and the * cotsetl/ In the 
Domesday Survey there are no tenants above the 
villani, as a general rule, except in the Danish dis- 
tricts, where the *Sochmanni* and the *liberi ho- 
mines ' appear. 

Comparing the status of English and German 
holders of * yard-lands * and ' huben,* the resemblances 
are remarkable, and they confirm the suggestion 
of a common origin. Both are * adscript! glebsB/ In 
both cases there is the absence of division among 
heirs. In both the succession is single, and in theory 
at the will of the lord. In both there are the gafol 
and customary services. 

In both cases there is the distinction in grade of 
serfdom between the man who freely becomes the 
holder of a yard-land or hub by his own surrender, or 
by voluntary submission to the semi-servile tenure, 
and the man who is a nativus or bom serf. 

In both cases there is a regular contribution to- 
wards military service or the equipment of a soldier, 
and apparently no bar in status from actual service, 
though doubtless in a semi-menial position. 
The COD- In all these points we have noticed strong analogies 

^Mon pei^ ]jg^^ggjj jjjg semi-free and semi-servile conditions of 

SJJJJ^ the various classes of tenants on Boman villas, and on 

^^jj the Eoman public lands, which we have spoken of as 

proTinciai the great provincial manor of the Boman Empire. 

And the natural inference seems to be, that even the 

curious confusion of the free and servile status may 

in England and Germany. 409 

be, in part, a survival of the like confusion in the Chap. x. 
Boman provinces. It naturaEy grew up under the 
semi-military rule of the German provinces, and pos- 
sibly in Britain also ; whilst the Saxon conquest of 
the latter, no doubt, as we have said, tended to reduce 
the confusion into something like simplicity by fusing 
together classes of semi-servile tenants of various 
historical origins, in the one common class of the later 
* geneats ' or * villani,* in whose status the old confii- 
sion, however, survived. 


To sum up the result of the comparison made in strong en- 
this chapter between the English and the Continental connezioii 
open-field system and serfdom. The English and Bzita^^ftod 
South-German systems at the time of the earliest 0^^^ 
records in the seventh century were to all intents p«>yincea 

, "^ during 

and purposes apparently identical. Roman 

The medieval serf, judging from the evidence of I^dJSi*^* 
his gafol and services, seems to have been the com- ^n^^* 
pound product of survivals from three separate ^^^ 
ancient conditions, gradually, during Boman pro- iueheiL 
vincial rule and under the influence of barbarian 
conquest, confused and blended into one, viz. those of 
the slave on the Boman villa, of the cohnus or other 
semi-servile and mostly barbarian tenants on the 
Boman villa or public lands, and of the slave of the 
German tribesman, who to the eyes of Tacitus was 
so very much like a Boman colonus. 

That peculiar form of the open-field system, 
which was the shell of serfdom both in England and 
on the Continent, also connects itself in Germany 

410 The Open-Field System 

Chaf. X. distinctly with the Eomano-German provinces, whilst 
at the same time conspicuously absent from the less 
Bomanised districts of Northern Germany. 

It seems therefore inconceivable that the three- 
field system and the serfdom of early Anglo-Saxon 
records can have been an altogether new importation 
from North Germany, where it did not exist, into 
Britain, where it probably had long existed under 
Boman rule. 
The Saxon We have already quoted the strong conclusion of 
from*" Hanssen that the Anglo-Saxon invaders and their 
2^1^ Frisian Low-German and Jutish companions could not 
^«^^7 introduce into England a system to which they were 
the iKee- not accustomcd at home. It must be admitted that 
•jettm the conspicuous absence of the three-field system 
^ En«- from the North of Germany does not, however, 
absolutely dispose of the possibility that the system 
was imported into England from those districts ol 
Middle Germany reaching from Westphalia to Thu- 
ringia, where the system undoubtedly existed. It is 
at least possible that the invaders of England may 
have proceeded from thence rather than as commonly 
supposed, from the regions on the northern coast. 
But if it be possible that a system of agriculture imply- 
ing long-continued settlement, and containing within 
it numerous survivals of Boman elements, could be 
imported by pirates and the emigrants following 
in their wake, the possibiUty itself implies that the 
immigrants had themselves previously submitted to 
long-continued Boman influences. 

On the whole we may adopt as a more likely 
theory the further suggestion of Hanssen, that if the 
three-field system was imported at all into England, 

in England and Germany. 


the most likely time for its importation was that same Ohap. x. 
period of Boman occupation during which he con- 
siders that it came into use in the Roman provinces 
of Germany.^ 

Nor is there anything inconsistent with this The 
suggestion in the irregular lines of the English open probabij 
fields and their divisions, so different from those [L three- 
produced by the rectangular centuriation of Roman SJSon o?" 
* Agrimensores/ We must not forget that the open »<>]?■. 
field system in its simpler forms was almost certainly 
pre-Roman in Britain as elsewhere ; so that what the 
Romans added to transform it into the manorial 
three-field system probably was rather the three-course 
rotation of crops, the strengthening of the manorial 
element on British estates, and the methods of 
taxation by ^jugation,' than any radical alteration 
in the land-divisions or in the system of co-operative 

> 'SoUdieDreifelderwirthflchaft 
nach England impordrt sein, eo 
Uiebe wohl nur iibrig an die 
Periode der romiflchen Okkupation 
lu denken, wie ich eine iUmliche 
Vennuthongy die sich freilich auch 
nicht weiter begriinden lasst, fur 
Dentflchland auflgesprocben habe 
(p. 153). Einfiicher ist ee den 
aelbetatandigen Unprung der Drei- 
felderwirthflcbaft in ganz verscbie- 
denenen L&ndemals einen auf einer 
gewisflen wirthschaftlichen Koltur- 
stufe wie Ton aelber eintretenden 

Fortschritt aich zu denken ' (Agrar- 
hiit. Ahhand, p. 497). 

' Mr. Coote bas adduced ap- 
parently clear evidence of centuri- 
ation in many parts of England • 
but we bave already seen tbat only 
tbe land actually assigned to tbe 
soldiers of a eoUmia was centuriated. 
Tbere would seem to be no reason 
to suppose tbat tbey disturbed tbe 
generaUy existing open fields still 
cultivated by tbe conquered popu- 




Chap. XI. 

The tribal 
■ystem in 
Wales and 

of the 
the earW 

It may perhaps now be possible to sum up the 
evidence, without pretending to more certainty in 
the conclusion than the condition of the question 

At the two extreme limits of our subject we have 
found, on one side, the tribal system of Wales and 
Ireland, and, on the other side, the German tribal 

In the earliest stage of these systems they were 
seemingly aUke, both in the nomadic habits of the 
tribes, and the shifting about of the households in a 
tribe from one homestead to another. Sir John Davis 
describes this shifting as going on in Ireland in his 
day, and Caesar describes it as going on in Qermany 
1,700 years earlier. 

In both cases, such agriculture as was a necessity 
even to pastoral tribes was carried on under the 
open-field system in its simplest form — the ploughing 
up of new ground each season, which then went 
back into grass. The Welsh triads speak of it as a 

The English Settlements. 413 

eo-aration of portions of the waste. Tacitus describes Chap, xi 
it in the words, * Arva per annos mutant, et superest 
ager.' In neither case, therefore, is there the three-field 
system^ which implies fixed arable fields ploughed 
again and again in rotation. 

The three-field system evidently implies the sur- The thwe- 
render of the tribal shifting and the submission to impUM^^ 
fixed settlement. Further, as wherever we can exa- ^^^, 
mine the three-field system we find the mass of the ™«nt8 and 

, •' _ rotation of 

holdings to have been fixed bundles, called yard-lands crops, 
or huben — bundles retaining the same contents from probaWy™** 
generation to generation — ^it seems to follow either 51>man 
that the tribal division of holdings among heirs, which '^^ Th« 
was the mark of free holdings, had ceased, or that or hub 
the three-field system was from the first the shell of ^ir 
a community in serfdom. tenant*. 

The geographical distribution of the three-field 
system — mainly within the old Boman provinces and 
in the Suevic districts along their borders — makes 
it almost certain that, in Germany, Roman rule was 
the influence which enforced the settlement, and 
introduced, with other improvements in agriculture, 
such as the vine culture, a fixed rotation of crops. 

In Wales the necessity for settlement did not 
generally produce the three-field system with holdings 
in yard-lands^ because, as the Welsh tribesmen, 
though they may have had household slaves, as a 
rule held no taeogs or prasdial slaves, it produced no 
serfdom. But under the German tribal system, even 
in the time of Tacitus, the tribesmen in the S6mi- 

^ There are undoubtedly manors I but of later and Kngliwh intio- # 
and yard-lands in some districts, I doction. 

414 ResiUt of the Evidence. 

Chap. XI. Romanised districts, at all events, already had pnedial 

TheRoman The manorial system, however, was not simply a 
otherihe- development from the tribal system of the Germans ; 
^^tto ^^ ^^^ evidently a complex origin. A Boman element 
tfat manor. ^Iso seems to have entered into its composition. 

The Roman vtHa, to begin with, a slave-worked 
estate, during the later empire, whether from German 
influence or not, became still more like a manor by 
the addition of coloni and other mostly barbarian 
semi-servile tenants to the slaves. 

There may have been once free village communities 
on the * ager publicus,' but, as we have seen, the man- 
agement of the public lands under the fiscal officers of 
the Emperor also tended during the later Empire to 
become more and more manorial in its character, so 
much so that the word ' villa ' could apparently some- 
times be applied to the fiscal district. 
Roman Whichever of the two factors — Roman or Ger- 

man eie- i^&n — contributed most to the mediaeval manor, the 
comWned. manorial estate became the predominant form of land 
ownership in what had once been Roman provinces. 
And the German successors of Roman lords of villas 
became in their turn manorial lords of manors ; whilst 
the 'coloni,' ' hti,' and * tributarii' upon them, wherever 
they remained upon the same ground, apparently 
became, with scarcely a visible change, a conmiunity 
of serfs. 
Bcth'agep On the other hand, the fact that the terra regis 
^d 'Sm also was divided under Saxon and Frankish kings into 
manorial, T^d^^TS probably was the natural result of the growing 
• manorial management of the public lands under the 
fiscal officers of the Emperor during the later Empire, 

The English Settlements. 415 

quickened or completed after the barbarian conquests. Chap^. 
The fiscal districts seem to have become in fact royal 
manors, and the free ' coloni,' * liti/ and ' servi ' upon 
them appear as manorial tenants of different grades 
in the earliest grants to the monasteries. 

The fact that as early as the time of Tacitus, the 
German chieftains and tribesmen were in their own 
country lords of serfs, in itself explains the ease with 
which they assumed the position of lords of manors 
on the conquest of the provinces. 

The result of conquest seems thus to have been 
chiefly a change of lordship, both as regards the 
private villas and the public lands. The conquered 
districts seem to have become in a wholesale way 
practically terra regis. There is no evidence that the 
modes of agriculture on the one hand or the modes 
of management on the other hand were materially 
changed. The conquering king would probably at 
once put followers of his own into the place of the 
Boman fiscal officers. These would become qiuisu 
lords of the royal manors on the terra regis. Then 
by degrees would naturally arise the process whereby 
under lavish royal grants manors were handed one 
after another into the private ownership of churches 
and monasteries and favourites of the king, thus honey- 
combing the terra regis with private manors. 

This seems to have been what happened in the 
Frankish provinces, and in the Alamannic and 
Bavarian districts, where the process can be most 
clearly traced. And the result seems to have been 
the almost universal prevalence of the manorial 
system in these districts. Even the towns came to 
be regarded as in the demesne of the king. And 

416 Result of the Evidence. 

Chap. XI. gradually manorial lordship extended itself over the 
free tenants as well as over the various semi-servile 
classes who were afterwards confused together in the 
general class of serfs. 

The community of serfs was fed from above and 
from below. Free ' coloni/ by their own voluntary 
surrender, and free tribesmen, perhaps upon conquest 
or gradually by the force of long usage, sank into 
serfs. Slaves, on the other hand, by their lord's 
favour, or to meet the needs of agriculture, were 
supplied with an outfit of oxen and rose out of 
slavery into serfdom. 

But what was this serfdom ? It was not simply 
the old praedial slavery of the Germans of Tacitus. 
Nor was it merely a continuance of the slavery on 
the Boman villa. 
Slavery For finally, in the period of transition from Boman 

by (^is- to German lordship, a new moral force entered as a 
^^j' fresh factor in the economic evolution. The silent 
humanising influence of Christianity seems to have 
been the power which mitigated the rigour of slavery, 
and raised the slave on the estates of the Church 
into the middle status of serfdom, by insisting upon 
the limitation of his labour to the three days' week- 
work of the mediaeval serf 

Thus, from the point of view alike of the German 
and the Eoman * servi,' mediaeval serfdom, except 
to the freemen who by their own surrender or by 
conquest were degraded into it, was a distinct step 
upward in the economic progress of the masses of the 
people towards freedom. 

Applying these results especially to England, we 

The English Settlements. 


have once more to remember that there was settled Ch^^i. 
agriculture in Belgic Britain before the Boman Thepw- 
invasion : that the fact vouched for by Pliny, that marl mte-juid 
and manure were ploughed into the fields, is proof Sgiwid? 
that the simplest form of the open-field system — the 
Welsh co-aration of the waste, and the German 
shifting every year of the ' arva ' — ^had already given 
place to a more settled and organised system, in 
which the same land remained under tillage year 
after year. Pliny's description of the marling of the 
land, however, points rather to the one-field system of 
Northern Germany than to the three-field system, as 
that under which the com was grown which Osesar 
found ripening on British fields when he first landed 
on the southern coast.^ 

In the meantime Boman improvements in agri- Boman in- 

. , trodoction 

culture may well have included the introduction into of the 
the province of Britain of the three-course rotation eonne 
of crops. The open fields round the villa of the ^""^ ^ 
Boman lord, cultivated by his slaves, * coloni,' * tribu- 
tarii,' and * liti,' may have been first arranged on the 
three-field system ; and, once established, that system 
would spread and become general during those cen- 
turies of Boman occupation in which so much com 
was produced and exported from the island. 

The Boman annonoe — ^founded, perhaps, on the 
earlier tribal food-rents — were, in Britain, as we know 
from the * Agricola ' of Tacitus, taken mostly in corn ; 

* The * one-Jidd system * of per^ 
tnanent m'dble must not be confused 
with the improyement of the early 
Welsh and Irish ' co-aration of the 
waste/ by which the land was 

cropped perhaps two or three or 
four years before it was left to po 
back into grau. This resembles t^e 
German Ftldgraswirtheehaft and 
not the German one-field system. 

£ £ 

418 Result of the Evidence. 

Chap. XI. and the tributum was probably assessed during the 
later empire on that system of jugation which was 
found to be so like to the hidation which prevailed 
after the Saxon conquest. 
Conqnert Putting asidc as exceptional the probably peaceful 

The in^' ^ut at bcst obscurc settlements in tribal households, 
eomcTiorfs ^^^ regarding conquest as the rule, the economic 
of hams or evideucc sccms to supply no solid reason for supposing 
that the German conquerors acted in Britain in a 
way widely different from that which they followed on 
the conquest of Continental Roman provinces. The 
conquered territory here as elsewhere probably be- 
came at first terra regis of the English, Saxon, or Jutish 
kings. And though there may have been more cases 
in England than elsewhere of extermination of the 
old inhabitants, the evidence of the English open-field 
system seems to show that, taking England as a whole, 
the continuity between the Boman and English system 
of land management was not really broken. The 
Boman provincial viUa still seems to have remained 
the typical form of estate ; and the management of 
the public lands, now terra regisj seems to have pre- 
served its manorial character. For whenever estates 
are granted to the Church or monasteries, or to thanes 
of the king, they seem to be handed over as already 
existing manors, with their own customs and services 
fixed by immemorial usage. 

It is most probable that whenever German con- 
querors descended upon an already peopled country 
where agriculture was carried on as it was in Britain, 
their comparatively small numbers, and still further 
their own dislike to agricultural pursuits and liking 
for lordship, and familiarity Avith servile tenants in 

Jlie English Settlements. 419 

the old country, would induce them to place the ^^^^J^l 
conquered people in the position of serfs, as the 
Oermans of Tacitus seem to have done, making them 
<lo the agriculture by customary methods. If in 
any special cases the numbers in the invading hosts 
were larger than usual, they would probably include 
the semi-servile dependants of the chieftains and 
tribesmen. These, placed on the land allotted to their 
lords, would be serfs in England as they had been at 

At this point, as we have seen, the internal evi- '^J^ 
dence of the open-field system, at the earliest date at thii, 
which it arises, comes to our aid, showing that as a 
general rule it was the shell, not of household com- 
munities of tribesmen doing their own ploughing like 
the Welsh tribesmen by co-aration, but of serfs doing 
the ploughing under an over-lordship. 

Here the English evidence points in precisely the 
same direction as the Continental. For, as so often 
repeated, the prevalence, as far back as the earliest 
records, of yard-lands and huben, handed down so 
generally, and evidently by long immemorial custom, 
as indivisible bundles from one generation to another, 
implies the absence of division among heirs, and is 
accordingly a mark of the servile nature of the holding. 

Further, whenever a place was called, as so 
many places were, by the name of a single person, it 
seems obvious that at the moment when its name 
was acquired it was under a land ownership, which, 
as regards the dependent population upon it, was 
a lordship. We have seen that in the laws of King and aIm 
Ethelbert the ' harns ' and ' tuns ' of England are name*, 
spoken of as in a single ownership, whilst the men- 

E E 2 

420 Result of the Evidence. 

Chap. XI. tion of the three grades of ' lasts * shows that there 

were semi-servile tenants upon tliem. And in the 

vast number of instances in which local names con« 

sist of a personal name with a suffix, the evidence 

of the local name itself is strong for the manorial 

The earlier character of the estate. When that suffix is tun, or 

and^ims* haTTiy or tn/Za, with the personal name prefixed, the 

nanon. evidence is doubly strong. Even when connected 

with an impersonal prefix, these suffixes in them- 

selves distinctly point, as we have seen, to the 

manorial character of the estate, with at least direct,. 

if not absolutely conclusive, force. 

Whatever doubt remains is not as to the generally 
manorial character of the hams and tuns of the 
earliest Saxon records, or as to the serfdom of their 
tenants ; as to this, it is submitted that the evidence 
is clear and conclusive. Whatever doubt remains is 
as to which of two possible courses leading to this 
result was taken by the Saxon conquerors of Britain. 
As regards the methods of their conquest, there 
happens to exist no satisfactory contemporary evi- 
dence. They may either have conquered and adopted 
the Boman villas, whether in private or imperial hands, 
with the slaves and * coloni ' or * tributarii ' upon them, 
calling them * hams,' or they may have destroyed 
the Boman villas and their tenants, and have estab- 
lished in their place fresh * hams ' of their own, which 
in mediaeval Latin records, whether in private or 
royal possession, were also afterwards called * villas.* 
In some districts they may have followed the onje 
course, in other districts the other course. Either 
of the two might as well as the other have produced 
manors and manorial serfdom. 

The English Settlements. 421 

But when the internal evidence of the Anglo-Saxon Chap, xl 
land system is examined, even this doubt as to which suTiyaii 
of the two methods was generally followed is in part Romano^ 
removed. For it may at least be said with truth 51"?*'° 
that the hundred years of historical darkness during !«»▼• <»«»- 
which there is a simple absence of direct testimony, and an in- 
is at least bridged over by such planks of iruiirect ^th JSSL 
economic evidence as the apparent connexion between ™i»^i<» 
the Boman *jugation' and the Saxon 'hidage,' the 
resemblance between the Boman and Saxon allot- 
ment of a certain number of acres along with single 
or double yokes of oxen to the holdings, the preva- 
lence of the rule of single succession, the apparent 
continuance of the Boman tributum and annoncBy and 
•even some of the serdida munera in the Saxon gafol^ 
gafoUyrth^ averagium^ and other manorial services ; 
and, lastly, the fact that in Gaul and Upper Germany 
the actual continuity between the Boman viUa and 
the German heim can be more or less clearly traced. 

The force of this economic evidence, it is sub- nniess the 
mitted, is at least enough to prove either that there were them- 
was a sufficient amount of continuity between the ^1^ 
Boman villa and the Saxon manor to preserve the 
general type, or that the German invaders who de- 
stroyed and re-introduced the manorial type of estate 
came from a district in which there had been such 
continuity, and where they themselves had lived long 
enough to permit the pecuUar manorial instincts of 
the Bomano-German province to become a kind of 
second nature to them. 

It is as impossible to conceive that this complex 
manorial land system, which we have found to bristle 
with historical survivals of usages of the Bomano- 


Eesult of the Evidence. 

Crap. XI. 

The large 

extent of 







The in- 
the natives 
as serfs or 
serfs with 

German province, should have been suddenly intro- 
duced into England by un-Eomanised Northern 
piratical tribes of Germans, as it is to conceive of the 
sudden creation of a fossil. 

The most reasonable hypothesis, in the absence of 
direct evidence, appears therefore to be that the 
manorial system grew up in Britain as it grew up in 
Gaul and Germany, as the compound product of 
barbarian and Boman institutions mixing together 
during the periods first of Boman provincial rule, and 
secondly of German conquest. 

This hypothesis seems at least most fiilly to 
account for the facts. Perhaps, it is not too much to 
say that whilst the large tracts of England remaining 
folk-land or terra regis, in spite of the lavish grants to 
monasteries complained of by Bede, are in themselves 
suggestive of the comparatively limited extent of 
allodial allotments among the conquering tribesmen, 
the existence and multiplication upon the terra regisy 
not of free village communities, but of royal manors 
of the same type as that of the Frankish villas, with 
a serfdom upon them also of the same type, and con- 
nected with the same three-field system of husbandry 
in both cases, almost amounts to a positive verifica- 
tion when the historical survivals cUnging to the 
system in both cases are taken into account. 

Even on the supposition that the Saxons really 
exterminated the old population and destroyed every 
vestige of the Eoman system, it has already become 
obvious that it would not at all follow that they 
generally introduced free village communities ; for in 
that case the evidence would go far to show that 
they most likely brought slaves with them and settled 

The English Settlements. 423 

them in servile village communities round their own Chap, xl 
dwellings, as Tacitus saw the Germans of his time """"" 
doing in Germany. But, again, it must be remem- 
bered that however naturally this might produce the 
manor and serfdom, still the survivals of minute pro- 
vincial usages hanging about the Saxon land system 
would remain unaccounted for, unless the invaders of 
the fifth century had already been thoroughly Eo- 
manised before their conquest of Britain. 

We cannot, indeed, pretend to have discovered English 
in the economic evidence a firm bridge for all pur- bej^not 
poses across the historic gulf of the fifth century, ^?^'"?^ 
and to have settled the diflBcult questions who were tiatimt 
the German invaders of England, whence they came, dom. 
and what was the exact form of their settlements 
in one district or another. But the facts we have 
examined seem to have settled the practical econo- 
mic question with which we started, viz. whether 
the hams and tuns of England, with their open 
fields and yard-lands, in the earliest historical times 
were inhabited and tilled in the main by free vil- 
lage communities, or by communities in villenage. 
However many exceptional instances there may have 
been of settlements in tribal households, or even free 
village communities, it seems to be almost certain 
that these * hams ' and * tuns ' were, generally speak- 
ing, and for the most part from the first, practically 
manors with communities in serfdom upon them. 

It has become at least clear, speaking broadly, that '^^ ^" 
the equal ' yard-lands ' of the * geburs ' were not the thaaiiodiai 
* alods ' or free lots of * alodial' freeholders in a com- of » frw 
mon ' mark,' but the tenements of serfs paying ' gafol ' ^" 
and doing ' week- work' for their lords. And this is 

424 ResuU of the Evidence. 

Chap. XI. equally true whether the manors on which they lived 
were bocland of Saxon thanes, or folk-land under 
the ^ villicus ' of a Saxon king. 



There yet remains one test to which the hypothesis 
of continuity between the British, Boman, and Eng- 
lish village community and open-field system may 
be put. 
Bonbtoat It has Sometimes been inferred, perhaps too 
J^j^^" readily, that the English invaders of Boman Britain 
^^^* nearly exterminated the old inhabitants, destroy- 
>piiiatton ing the towns and villages, and making fresh settle- 
jsDgiishm- ments of their own, upon freshly chosen sites. Kthis 
"** were so, it would, of course, involve the destruction 
of the open fields round the old villages, and the 
formation of fresh open fields round the new ones. 

The passage in Ammianus Marcellinus has some- 
times been quoted, in which he describes the 
Alamanni, who had taken possession of Strasburg, 
Spires, Worms, Mayence, &c., as encamped outside 
these cities, shunning their inside * as though they had 
been graves surrounded by nets.' ^ But this was in 
time of war, and no proof of what they might do 
when in peaceable possession of the country. 

Mr. Freeman also has drawn a graphic picture of 
Anderida, with the two Saxon villages of Pevensey and 
West Ham outside of its old Boman walls, and no 
dwellings within them. But it would so obviously be 

^ Amm. Marc. xvi. c. ii« 

Continuity in English Villages. 425 

much easier to build new houses outside the gates of Ghav. xl 
a ruined city, or, perhaps, we should say rather 
fortified camp, than to clear away the rubbish and 
build upon the old site, that such an instance is far 
from conclusive. Nor does the fact that in so many 
cases the streets of once Boman cities deviate from 
the old Boman lines prove that the new builders 
avoided the ancient sites. It proves only that, in- 
stead of removing the heaps of rubbish, they chose 
the open spaces behind them as more convenient for 
their new buildings, in the process of erecting 
which the heaps of rubbish were doubtless gradually 

But, in truth, cases of fortified cities are not to i» there 
the point. What we want to find out is whether, in oontbmtj 
the rural districts, the British villages, with their open ^£^2^ 
fields around them, were generally adopted by the 
Romans, and whether, having survived the Roman 
occupation, the Saxons adopted them in their turn. 

It may be worth while to recur to the district ^. in the 
from which was taken the typical example of the f^^ 
open fields, testing the point by such local evidence 
as may there be found. 

Among the ancient boundaries of the township 
of Hitchin, or rather of that part which included the 
now enclosed hamlet of Walsworth, was mentioned 
the Icknild way — that old British road which, passing fj^^ j^^^ 
from Wiltshire to Norfolk, here traverses the edge of ^^f ^^ 

' , o and other 

the Chiltem hills. It sometimes winds lazily about Mcitnt 
uphill and down, following the line of the chalk 
-downs. In many places it is merely a broad turf 
drift way. Here and there a long straight stretch of 
a mile or two suggests a Roman improvement upon 

426 Result of the Evidence. 

Chap. XI. its perhaps once more devious course. Here and 
there, too, are fragments of similar broad turf lanes 
leading nowhere, having lost the continuity which no 
doubt they once possessed. Sometimes crossing it, 
sometimes branching off from it, sometimes running 
parallel to it, are also frequently found similar wind- 
ing broad turf drift ways, or straight roads of appa- 
rently British or Boman origin. It crosses Akeiuan 
Street at Tring, Watling Street at Dunstable, and 
Irmine Street at Royston. Neither Dunstable nor 
Eoyston, however, are examples of continuity, being 
comparatively modern towns, neither of them men- 
tioned in the Domesday Survey. Hitchin lies about 
half-way between tlie cross-roads. 
Thsdii- The district included in the annexed map, of 

SlBeigiT which Hitchin is the centre, was a part of Belgic 
Ung»- Britain. According to Ciusar this had been under 
the rule of the same king as Belgic Gaul, and upon 
the evidence of coins and certain passages in Roman 
writers, it is pretty well understood to have been, 
soon after the invasion of Cajsar, under the rule of 
Tasciovanus,^ whose capital was Verulamium, and 
after him of his son Cunobeline, whose capital was 
Oamulodunum. The sons of the latter (one of them 
Caractacus) were prevented from succeeding him by 
the advance of the Roman arms.*^ The intimate 
relations of the two capitals at Verulam and at Col- 
chester explain the existence of tlie roads between 

The dykes which cross the Icknild way at in- 

' Evans* Ancient British Coins, p. 220 et seq, 
> Ibid, p. 28-1 et seq. 

Continuity in English Villages. 427 

tervaJs, East of Royston — the Brent dyke, the Bals- Chap. xl 
ham dyke (parallel to the Via Devana), and the 
Devil's dyke, near Newmarket — seem to indicate that 
here was the border land between this district and 
that of the Iceni (Norfolk and Suffolk). 

Sandy (the Eoman Salince), at the north of the Coins of 
district in the map, is known, from the evidence of nua and 
coins of Cunobehne, to have been an important British ^^^*^ 
centre. A gold coin of Tasciovanus, and other 
British coins, have been picked up on the Icknild 
way, between Hitchin and Dunstable. A gold coin 
of Cunobeline, and mimy fragments of Eoman pottery, 
have been found about half a mile to the east of 
Abington, a village a little to the north of the Icknild 
way, near Eoyston.^ Coins of Cunobeline have also 
been found at Great Chester ford. A copper coin of 
Cunobeline was picked up in a garden in Walsworth, 
a hamlet of Hitchin, and British urns of a rude type 
have been recently found on the top of Benslow Hill, 
the high ground on the east of the town. 

The map will show in how many directions the ^»- 
district is cut up by Roman roads, which, as they roads, &e. 
evidently connect the various parts of the domain 
of the before-mentioned British kings, were probably, 
with the Icknild way itself, British tracks before they 
were adopted by the Eoiuans. 

Almost every commanding bluff of the chalk 
downs retains traces of its having been used as a hill 
fort, probably in pre-Eoman times, as well as later, 
while the numerous tumuli all along the route of the 
Icknild way testify, probaljly, to the numerous battles 
fought in its neifrhbourhood. 

^ I am indebted tu the lie v. W. G. F. Pigott for this information. 

428 Result of the Evidence. 

Chap. XI. Probably this district fell under direct Boman 
Its Roman Tule after the campaigns of Aulus Flautius and 
S"*^ Claudius, about a.d. 43.^ The direction of the ad- 
^^Adins ^^^^^ ^^ probably across the Thames at Walling- 
PUntiiw, ford, and along the Icknild way, from which the de- 
Aj>. 48. scent upon Verulam could well be made from Tring 
or Dunstable down what were afterwards called 
Akeman Street and Watling Street. Under the 
tumulus near Litlington, called Limloe, or limbury 
Hill, skeletons were found, and coins of the reign 
of Claudius, and of later date. It is possible that the 
battle was fought here in a later reign which brought 
the further parts of the district under Boman rule. 
The Saxon The date of the Saxon conquest of this district 
aSoStTj). ™Lay be as definitely determined. It preceded the 
^"^* conquest of Bath, Cirencester, and Gloucester by a 

very few years. It may be pretty clearly placed at 
about A.D. 571, when, according to the Saxon Chro- 
nicle, ' Cuthwulf fought with the Brit-weals at Bed- 
can-ford (Bedford), and took four towns. He took 
Lygean-birg (Lenborough) and Aegeles-birg (Ayles- 
bury), and Baenesingtun (Bensington) and Egones- 
ham (Eynsham).' This was the time when Bedford- 
shire, Buckinghamshire, and Oxfordshire fell into the 
hands of tne West Saxons. 

The old boundary of the ecclesiastical division of 
the country before the time of the Norman conquest 
included this district, with Bedford, in the diocese of 
Dorchester. The boundary probably followed the 
lines of the old West Saxon kingdom, and shut it off 

^ See the paper on 'The Campaign of Aulus PlautiuB,' in Dr. 
Guest's Origins CeUica, yol. ii* 

Continuity in English Villages. 


from Essex and the rest of Hertfordshire, which were chap. xl 
included in the diocese of London. 

The district, therefore, seems to have remained 
nearly 400 years under Boman rule, and under the 
British post-Eoman rule another 100 years, till within 
twenty-five or thirty years of the arrival of St. 
Augustine in England, and the date of the laws of 
King Ethelbert, and within little more than 100 years 
of the date of the laws of King Ine, which laws pre- 
sumably were founded upon customs of this district, 
once a part of the West Saxon kingdom. 

The question is whether the position of the Eoman Do the 
remains which have been discovered in this neigh- SaJwBi^ 
bourhood points to a continuity in the sites of the ^^J^°" 
present villages between British, Boman, and Saxon 
times. This question may certainly, in many in- 
stances, and, perhaps, generally, be answered dis- 
tinctly in the affirmative. 

Take first the town of Hitchin itself. Its name The town 
in the Domesday Survey was * Hiz,' and there can be ^ 'Hii,'"' 
little doubt that it is a Celtic word, meaning * streams/ ^ JJ^eimi ■^* 
The position of the township accords with this name. 
The river * Hiz ' rises out of the chalk at Wellhead, 
almost immediately turns a mill, and, flowing through 
the town, joins the Ivel a few miles lower down in its 
course, and so flows ultimately into the Ouse. The 
Orton * rises at the west extremity of the township, in 

> Oompare supra, p. 161: the 
change of * Hiflse-hum ' or ' loenan- 
hum* into 'Itchin River,' and of 
' nt locebum' into 'Tiocebum,' 
and ' Titchboome.' May not Ick- 
luld Way, or ' Icenan-hild-weg, 
mean highway 'by the streamv, 

and Ricknild Way mean highway 
' by the ridge ' P See map, nipra, ch« 
?.,8.v. They are sometimes parallel 
as an upper and lower road. 

» Formerly ' Alton.' See Sur- 
vey of the Manor of Hitchin. 1660i 
Public Record Office. 

430 Result of the Evidence. 

Chap. XI. a few hundred yards turns West Mill, and forms the 
boundary of the parish till it meets the Hiz at Ickle- 
ford, where the two are forded by the Icknild way. 
The Purwell, rising jfrom the south east, forms the 
boundary between the parishes of Hitchin and Much 
Wymondley, and then, after turning Purwell Mill, 
and dividing Hitchin from Walsworth Hamlet, also 
joins the Hiz before it reaches Ickleford. Thus two 
of these three pure chalk streams embrace the town- 
ship, and one passes through it giving its Celtic name 
Hiz to the town.^ 
it« Celtic I*^ is ^o^ likely that either the Bomans or the 

"^®* Saxon invaders gave it this Celtic name. 
Britiahand ^ already mentioned, on the top of the hill, to 
Roman re- ^j^q ^^sj Qf ij^q town, British sepulchrsl urns have 

mams. ' •^ 

been recently found. 

A Roman cemetery, with a large number of 
sepulchral urns, dishes, and bottles, and coins of 
Severus, Carausius, Constantine, and Alectus, was 
turned up a few years ago on the top of the hill on 
the opposite side of the town, in a part of the open 
fields called *The Fox-holes'* — a plot of useless 
ground being often used for burials by the Eomans. 

Another Roman cemetery, with very similar 
pottery and coins, has been found on Bury Mead, 
near the line where the arable part ceases and the 


' In Hampshire the old Celtic (Cod. Dip. mccdx,,) to three * 0^- 

or Belgic names of rivers in many dovers.' So also the Tarrant gi\eB 

cases gave their names to places its names to several places. 
upon them. The ' Itchin * to Itchin ■ Now part of the garden <rf 

Stoke, Itchin Abbas, Itchboume, Mr. W. T. Lucas, in whose posse^- 

&c. The *MeoTui* (Ccd, Dip, sion many of them now remain. 

olviii.) to Meon Stoke, East and Three skeletons, one of them of 

West Meon, &c. The ' Candler ' great size, were found near the ami. 

Continuity in English Villages. 


Lammas meadow lands begin. Bury field itself {i.e. Chap, xl 
the arable) has been deeply drained, but yielded no 
coins or urns. 

Occasional coins and urns have been found in 
the town itself. 

This, so far as it goes, is good evidence that 
Hitchin was a British and a Boman before it was a 
Saxon town. 

In the sub-hamlet of Charlton, near Wellhead, the 
source of the Hiz, small coins of the lower Empire 
have been found. As already mentioned, a coin of 
Cunobeline was found in the village of Walsworth. 
In even the hamlets, therefore, there is some evidence 
of continuity. At Ickleford, where the Icknild way 
crosses the Hiz, Boman coins have been found. 

The next pariah to the east, divided from Hitchin Much Wy- 
by the Purwell stream, is Much Wymondley. ™**° ^' 

The evidence of continuity, as regards this parish, 
is remarkably clear. The accompanying map ^ sup- 
plies an interesting example of open fields, with their 
strips and balks and scattered ownership still remain- 
ing in 1803. These open arable fields were originally 
divided off from the village by a stretch of Lammas 

Between this Lammas land and the church in the ^J^ 


village he the remains of the httle Boman holding, of perhaps of 
which an enlarged plan is given. It consists now of tetoran. 
several fields, forming a rough square, with its sides 
to the four points of the compass, and contains, fill- 
ing in the corners of the square, about 25 Boman 

* For permission to reproduce 
this map I am indebted to the 
present lord of the manor, C. W. 

Wilshere, Esq., of the Fryth, Wel- 


Remit of the Evidence. 

Chap. XI. jugera — or the eighth of a centuria of 200 jugera — 
the extent of land often allotted, as we have seen, 
to a retired veteran with a single pair of oxen. The 
proof that it was a Boman holding is as follows : — 
In the corner next to the church are two square 
fields stiU distinctly surrounded by a moat, nearly 
parallel to which, on the east side, was found a line 
of black earth full of broken Boman pottery and tiles. 
Near the church, at the south-west corner of the 
property, is a double tumulus, which, being close to 
the church field, may have been an ancient ^ toot hill,' 
or a terminal mound. In the extreme opposite comer 
of the holding was found a Boman cemetery, contain- 
ing the urns, dishes, and bottles of a score or two of 
burials. Drawings of those of the vessels not broken 
in the digging, engraved from a photograph, are 
appended to the map, by the kind permission of the 
owner.^ Over the hedge, at this comer, begins the 
Lammas land.' 

How many other holdings were included in the 
Boman village we do not know, but that the village 
was in the same position in relation to the open fields 
that it was in 1803 is obvious. 

AflhweU. Ashwell also evidently stands on its old site round 

the head of a remarkably strong chalk spring, the 
clear stream from which flows through the village 
as the river Rhee^ a branch of the Cam. Early 
Boman coins and sepulchral urns have been found 
in the hamlet called ^ Ashwell End,' and a Boman road, 
called * Ashwell Street,' passes by the town parallel 

^ Mr. Willi&m RaDflom, of Fair- 
field, near Hitchin. 

* As regards Roman cemeteries; 

as placed in the <ixtreine comer of 
a holding, 9ee Lachmann, pp. 271-2 ; 
De Sqndchris DohbeO, p. SOS. 




: \ 


■ f 





Continuity in English Villages. 433 

to the Icknild way. Near to the town is a camp, Chap. xi 
with a clearly defined vallum, called Harborough 
Banks, where coins of the later Empire have been 
found. A map of the parish, made before the enclo- 
sure, and preserved in the place, shows that it pre- 
sented a remarkably good example of the open-field 

An instance of continuity as remarkable as that Romaa 
of Much Wymondley occurs at Litlington,^ the next cenwtMy. 
village to Ashwell, on the Ashwell Street. The church 
and manor house in this case lie near together on the 
west side of the village, and in the adjoining field and 
gardens the walls and pavements of a Eoman villa 
were found many years ago. At a httle distance 
from it, nearer to the Ashwell Street, a Eoman icstti- 
num and cemetery were found, surrounded by four 
walls, and yielding coins of Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, 
Quintillus, Carausius, Constantine the Great, Mag- 
nentius, &c. A map of this village is appended. 

When the Roman villa was discovered, the open 
fields around the village were still unenclosed, and 
the position of Ashwell Street was pushed farther 
from the village at the time of the enclosure. 

The tumulus called ' Limloe,' or * Limbury Hill,* 
lies at the side of the road leading from the Icknild 
way across the Ashwell Street to the village, and im- 
mediately under it skeletons with coins of Claudius, 
Vespasian, and Faustina were found, as already men- 

A few miles further east than Royston are two ickieion 
villages, Ickleton on the Icknild way, and Great terford^ 

* Arch^Bologia, vol. xxvi. p. 376. 
F F 


ResiUt of the Evidence. 

cbap. XI. Chesterford a little to the south of it. That both these 
places are on Boman sites the foundations and coins 
which have been found attest.^ There are remains of a 
camp at Chesterford, and coins of Cunobeline as well 
as numerous Boman coins have been dug up there.' 
HadBtock. At Hadstock, a village near, in a field called 
* Sunken Church Field,' Koman foundations and coins 
have been found.^ 
other in- Proceeding further east the list of similar cases 

cOTiUnuity might be greatly increased. But keeping within the 
'H?tM of small district, in the following other cases the finding 
viiiagw. of Roman coins in the villages seems to be fair proof 
of continuity in their sites, viz.: — Sandy, Campton, 
Baldock, Willian, Cumberlow Green, Weston, Ste- 
venage, Hexton, and Higham Gobion. 

Two remarkable instances of ancient mounds or 
fortifications close to churches occur at Meppershall 
and Pirton, of both of which plans are given. The 
Pirton mound is called in the village the * toot hill.' 
These mounds in the neighbourhood of churches may 
be much older than the Saxon conquest. Open air 
courts were by no means confined to one race.* Boman 
remains have been found in the neighbourhood of 
both these places, but how near to the actual village 
sites I am unable to say.* 

Leaving out these two and many more doubtful 
cases, and without pretending to be exhaustive, there 
have been mentioned nearly a score in which Boman 

and earth 

' Jffurnnl of British Arehao- 
lof/tcal Associntion, iv. 866, and v. 

' Archffolwfia^ xxzii. p. 350. 

» Id., p. .M52. 

' See Mr. Gomme's interesting 

work on Primitive Folkmotes, c. li. 
^ A remarkably tine ^^^ funeral 
urn was found about half a mile 
below the Meppershall Hills in 1882 
by the tenant of the neighbouring 

Continuity in English Villages. 435 

remains or coins have already been found on the Chap, xl 
present sites of villages in this small district. 

So far the local evidence supports the view that strong eri- 
the West Saxons, who probably conquered it about contiDui^ 
A.D. 570, succeeded to a long-settled agriculture ; and |^^ ^^ 
further it seems likely that, assuming the lordship 
vacated by the owners of the villas, and adopting the 
village sites, they continued the cultivation of the open 
fields around them by means of the old rural popula- 
tion on that same three-field system, which had pro- 
bably been matured and improved during Eoman 
rule, and by which the population of the district had 
been supported during the three generations between 
the departure of the Eoman governors and the West 
Saxon conquest. 

But it may perhaps be urged that these districts, 
conquered so late as a.d. 570, may have been excep- 
tionally treated. If this were so, it must be borne in 
mind that the whole of central England — i.e. the coun- 
ties described in the second volume of the Hundred 
Rolls as to which the evidence for the existence of the 
open-field system was so strong — was included in the 
exception. Indeed, if the line of the Icknild way be 
extended along Akeman Street to Cirencester, Bath, 
and Gloucester, the line of the Saxon conquests which 
were later than a.d. 560 would be pretty clearly 
marked. The laws of Ine, pointing backwards as 
they do from their actual date, reach back within 
two or three generations of the date of the Saxon 
conquest of this part of Old Wessex. 

It would be impossible here to pursue the ques- 
tion in detail in otlier parts of England. Perhaps it 
will be sufficient to call attention to the many cases 

F F 2 


Result of the Evidence. 


Chap. XI. mentioned in Mr. C. Eoach Smith's valuable * C!ollec- 
tanea,'^ in which Boman remains have been found in 
close proximity to the churches of modem villages, 
and to his remark that a long list of such instances 
might easily be made/^ 

The number of such cases which occur in Kent is 
very remarkable, and Kent was certainly not a late 

I will only add a passing allusion to the remark- 
able case at Woodchester, in Gloucestershire, where 
the church, present mansion, and Boman villa are 
close together,* and mention that in two of the ham- 
lets on the manor of Tidenham — Stroat and Sedbury 
(or Cingestun) — ^Roman remains bear testimony to a 
Eoman occupation before the West Saxon conquest.* 

The fact seems to be that the archaeological evi- 
dence, gradually accumulating as time goes on, points 
more and more clearly to the fact that our modern 
villages are very often on their old Boman and some- 
times probably pre-Boman sites — that however much 
the English invaders avoided the walled towns of 
Boman Britain, they certainly had no such antipathy 
to the occupation of its villas and rural vUlages. 

» Vol. i. pp. 17, 66, 190; vol. 
ill. p. 33 ; vol. iv. p. 165 ; vol. v. 
p. 187 ; vol. vi. p. 222. 

* Collectanea, v. p. 187. The 
recently discovered Boman villa 
on the property of Earl Cowper, 
at Wingham, near Oanterbury, 
IB a striking instance. See Mr. 
Dowker's pamphlet thereon. See 

also Archteologia, zziz. p. 217, &c, 
where Mr. C. Roach Smith men- 
tions several other instances. 

' Account of the Roman An» 
tiquities at Woodchester, by S. 
Lysons. Lond.: liDCCxcvn. 

* See Mr. Ormerod*a Archtfo^ 
logical Memoir*, 

Conclusion. 4S7 

Cbap. XL 


The economic result of the inquiry pursued in this Economic 

1 -1 • /» J result. 

essay may now be summed up m few words. 

Its object was not to inquire into the origin of 
village and tribal communities as the possible be- 
ginning of all things, but simply to put English 
Economic History on true lines at its historical be- 
ginning, viz. : the EngUsh Conquest. 

Throughout the whole period from pre-Eoman to Two mrai 
modem times we have found in Britain two parallel SSh- 
systems of rural economy side by side, but keeping JSiIge * 
separate and working themselves out on quite differ- ?^^? 
ent lines, in spite of Eoman, English, and Norman •^ the 

• ^x. \ c ^x. ni -^ • *i. tpibalcora. 

invasions — that of the village commumty m the monityia 
eastern, that of the tribal community in the western * ^** 
districts of the island. 

Both systems as far back as the evidence extends C3om- 
were marked by the two notes of community and mod 
equality, and each was connected with a form of the Sth.*^^ '" 
open or common field system of husbandry peculiar 
to itself. These two different forms of the common EMh h«d 
field system also kept themselves distinct throughout, J,^nXid 
and are still distinct in their modem remains or ^7»'«"- 

Neither the village nor the tribal community ^^p*^ 
seems to have been introduced into Britain during a 
historical period reaching back for 2,000 years at 

On the one hand, the village community of the The Eng- 
eastern districts of Britain was connected with a commnmtjr 
settled agriculture which, apparently dating earlier J^S^^"** 

438 Conclusion. 

Chap. XI. than the Roman invasion and improved during the 
three-field Roman occupation, was carried on, at length, under 
system. ^^^^^^ three-field form of the open-field system which 
became the shell of the English village community. 
The equality in its yard-lands and the single succession 
which preserved this equality we have found to be 
apparently marks not of an original freedom, not of 
an original sdlodial allotment on the German ^ mai*k 
system,' but of a settled serfdom under a lordship 
— a semi-servile tenancy implying a mere usufioict, 
theoretically only for life, or at will, and carrying 
with it no inherent rights of inheritance. But this 
serfdom, as we have seen reason to believe, was, to 
A step out the masses of the people, not a degradation, but a 
towards Step upward out of a once more general slavery. Cer- 
Jbm^the Mainly during the 1,200 years over which the direct 
^j^?'^^' English evidence extends the tendency has been to- 
wards more and more of freedom. In other words, 
as time went on during these 1,200 years, the serfdom 
of the old order of things has been gradually breaking 
up under those influences, whatever they may have 
been, which have produced the new order of things. 
Thetriw On the other hand, the tribal community of the 
^"i^""^^ western districts of Great Britain and of Ireland, though 
•run-rig' parallel in time with the village community of the 
eastern districts, was connected with an earlier stage 
of economic development, in which the rural economy 
was pastoral rather than agricultural. This tribal 
community was bound together, perhaps, in a unique 
degree, by the strong ties of blood relationship be- 
tween free tribesmen. The equality which followed 
the possession of the tribal blood involved an equal 
division among the sons of tribesmen, and was main- 

Conclusion. 439 

tained in spite of the inequality of families by frequent Chap^xl 
redistributions of the tribal lands, and shiftings of the 
tribesmen from one homestead to another according 
to tribal rules. We have traced the curious method 
of clustering the homesteads in arithmetical groups 
mentioned in the ancient Welsh laws, and still prac- 
tised in Ireland in the seventeenth century, and we 
have found many survivals of it in the present names 
and divisions of Irish townlands. We have found 
the simple form of open-field husbandry used under 
the tribal system, and suited to its precarious and 
shifting agriculture, still surviving in the ' rundale ' 
or * run-rig ' system, by which, to this day, is effected W^^ ^ 
in Ireland and western Scotland that infinite sub< order of 
division of holdings which marks the tenacious ad- °**' 
herence to tribal instincts on the part of a people still 
fighting an unequal battle against the new order of 

The new order has, no doubt, arisen in one sense The new 

order op- 

out of both branches of the old, but neither the poeedto 
manorial village community of the eastern district, S!nT^""^ 
nor the tribal community of the west, can be said to ^^^^y- 
be its parent. Its fundamental principle seems to be 
opposed to the community and equality of the old order 
in both its forms. The freedom of the individual and 
growth of individual enterprise and property which 
mark the new order imply a rebelUon against the 
bonds of the communism and forced equality, ahke 
of the manorial and of the tribal system. It has 
triumphed by breaking up both the communism of 
serfdom and the communism of the free tribe. 

Nor, it would seem, can the new order be regarded ^^^ ^ 
with any greater truth as a development from the »«>««o^ 

440 Conchmon. 

Chap. XI. germs of any German tribal or * mark ' system im* 
economic ported in the keels of the English invaders. It would 
ment!^^ Seem to belong to an altogether wider range of eco- 
nomic development than that of one or two races. Its 
complex roots went deeply back into that older world 
into which the Teutonic invaders introduced new 
elements and new life, no doubt, but, it would seem, 
without destroying the continuity of the main stream 
of its economic development, or even of the outward 
forms of its rural economy. 

This, from an economic point of view, is the 
important conclusion to which the facts examined in 
this essay seem to point. These facts will be ex- 
amined afresh by other and abler students, and the 
last word will not soon have been said upon some of 
them. They are drawn from so wide a field, and 
from lines reaching back so far, that their interest 
and bearing upon the matter in hand will not soon 
be exhausted or settled. But if the conclusion here 
suggested should in the main be confirmed, what 
English Economic History loses in simplicity it will 
gain in breadth. It will cease to be provincial. It 
will become more closely identified with the general 
economic evolution of the human race in the past. 
And this in its turn will give a wider interest to the 
vast responsibihties of the English-speaking nations 
in connexion with the progress of the new order of 
things and the solution of the great economic pro- 
blems of the future. 
The com- What are the forces which have produced, and 

munism of , , r •* 

the old are producing, the evolution of the new order, and to 
thing of what ultimate goal the * weary Titan ' is bearing 
the past, ^YiQ 'too fuU orb of her fate,' are questions of the 

Conclusion. 441 

highest rank of economic and political importance, c?hap. xl 
but questions upon which not much direct light has 
been thrown, perhaps, in this essay. Still the know- 
ledge what the community and equaUty of the Eng- 
lish village and of the Keltic tribe really were under 
the old order may at least dispel any Ungering wish 
or hope that they may ever return. Communistic 
systems such as these we have examined, which have 
lasted for 2,000 years, and for the last 1,000 years 
at least have been gradually wearing themselves out, 
are hardly likely — either of them — to be the economic 
goal of the future. 

The reader of this essay may perhaps contemplate 
the few remaining balks and linces of our EngUsh Hkethe 
common fields, and the surviving examples of the system. 
* run-rig ' system in Ireland and Scotland, with greater 
interest than before, but it will be as historical sur- 
vivals, not of types hkely to be reproduced in the 
future, but of economic stages for ever past. 





*At the Court [Leet and] of the View of Frank pledge 18 w. 
of our Sovereign Lord the King with the General Court ^^' ^^' 
Baron of William Wilshere, Esquire, Lord Firmar of the 
said manor of his Majesty, holden in and for the manor 
aforesaid, on Thursday, the twenty-first day of October, 
One thousand eight hundre4 and nineteen, Before Joseph 
Eade, Gentleman, Steward of the said manor, and by ad* 
joumment on Monday, the first day of November next 
following, before the said Joseph Eade, the Steward afore- 

* The jurors for our Lord the King and the Homage of 
this Court having diligently enquired into the boundaries, 
extent, rights, jurisdictions, and customs of the said manor, 
and the rights, powers, and duties of the lord and tenants 
thereof, and having also enquired what lands in the town- 
ship of Hitchin and in the hamlet of Walsworth respectively 
within this manor are subject to common of pasture for the 
commonable cattle of the occupiers of messuages, cottages, 
and land within the said township and hamlet respectively, 
and for what descriptions and number of cattle, and at what 
times of the year and in what manner such rights of com- 
mon are by the custom of this manor to be exercised, and 
what payments are by such custom due in respect thereof, 
they do upon their oaths find and present as follows : — 

* That the manor comprises the township of Hitchin and 
• the hamlet of Walsworth, in the parish of Hitchin, the 





lesser manors of the Rectory of Hitchin, of Moremead, 
otherwise Charlton, and of the Priory of the Biggin, being 
comprehended within the boundaries of the said manor of 
Hitchin, which also extends into the hamlets of Langley 
and Preston in the said parish of Hitchin, and into the 
parishes of Ickleford, Ippollitts, Kimpton, Kingswalden, 
and OfSey. 

^ That the following are the boundaries of the township 
of Hitchin with the hamlet of Walsworth (that is to say), 
beginning at Orton Head, proceeding firom thence to Bar- 
ford Ray, and firom thence to a water mill called Hide MiU, 
and firom thence to Wilberry Hills ; firom thence to a place 
called Bossendell, firom thence to a water mill called Pur- 
well Mill, and firom thence to a brook or river called Ippol- 
litts' Brook, and firom thence to Maydencroft Lane, and 
from thence to a place called Wellhead, and firom thence to 
a place called Stubborn Bush, and firom thence to a place 
called OfHey Cross, and firom thence to Five Borough 
Hills, and from thence back to Orton Head, where the 
boundaries commenced. And that all the land in the 
parish of Hitchin lying on the north side of the river which 
runneth firom Purwell Mill to Hide Mill is within the ham- 
let of Walsworth, and that the following lands on the south 
side of the same river are also within the same hamlet of 
Walsworth (vizt.), Walsworth Common, containing about 
fourteen acres; the land of Sir Francis Sykes called the 
Leys, on the south side of Walsworth Common, containing 
about foinr acres ; the land of William Lucaa and Joseph 
Lucas, called the Hills, containing about two acres; and 
nine acres <»r thereabouts, part of the land of Sir Francis 
Sykes, called the Shadwells, the residue of the land called 
the Shadwells on the north side of the river. 

^ That the lord of the manor of Hitchin hath Court Leet 
View of Frank pledge and Court Baron, and that the juris- 
diction of the Court Leet and View of Frank pledge ex- 
tendeth over the whole of the township of Hitchin and the 
hamlet of Walsworth. That a Court Leet and Court of the 
View of Frank pledge and Great Court Baron are accus- 
tomed to be holden for the said manor within one month 

Appendix. 445 

after the Feast of Saint Michael the Archangel in every 
year, and may also be holden within one month after the 
Feast of Easter. And that general or special Courts Baron 
and customary Courts are holden at the pleasure of the lord 
or of his steward. 

' That in the Court Leet yearly holden after the Feast of 
St. Michael the Archangel the jurors for our Lord the King 
are accustomed to elect and present to the lord two con- 
stables and six headboroughs (vizt.), two headboroughs for 
Bancroft Ward, two for Bridge Ward, and two for Tilehouse 
Street Ward (each such constable and headborough having 
right and being bound to execute the office through the 
whole leet), and likewise two ale conners, two leather 
searchers and sealers, and a bellman who is also the watch- 
man and cryer of the town. And they present that Ban- 
croft Ward contains Bancroft Street, including the Swan 
Inn, Silver Street, Portmill Lane, and the churchyard, 
church and vicarage house, and the alley leading out of 
Bancroft now called Quaker's Alley. That Bridge Ward 
contains the east and north sides of the market place, and 
part of the south side thereof to the house of John Whitney, 
formerly called the Maidenhead Inn, Mary's Street, other- 
wise Angel Street, now called Sun Street, Bull Street, now 
called Bridge Street, to the river ; Bull Comer, Back 
Street, otherwise Dead Street, from the south to the north 
extremities thereof; Biggin Lane with the Biggin and 
Hollow Lane. And that Tilehouse Street Ward contains 
Tilehouse Street, Bucklersbury to the Swan Inn, and the 
west side and the remainder of the south side of the market 


* And the Homage of this Court do also further present 

* that freeholders holding of the said manor do pay to the 

^ lord by way of relief upon the death of the preceding tenant Beliefs. 
< one year's quitrent, but that nothing is due to the lord 
^ upon the alienation of freehold. 

^ That the fines upon admissions of copyholders, whether Fines on 

* by descent or purchase, are, and beyond the memory of •d™"- 



Povep of 



Woods and 

man have been, certain (to wit), half a year's quitrent ; and 
that where any number of tenants are admitted jointly in 
one copy, no greater fine than one half year's qnitrent is 
due for the admission of all the joint tenants. 

^ The Homage also present that by the custom of the 
manor the customary tenants may without licence let their 
copyholds for three years and no longer, but that they may 
by licence of the lord let the same for any term not ex- 
ceeding twenty-one years ; and that the lord is upon every 
such licence entitled to a fine of one year's quitrent of the 
premises to be demised. 

^ The Homage present that the freehold tenants of the 
said manor forfeit their estates to the lord thereof for 
treason and for murders and other felonies ; and that the 
copyholders forfeit their estates for the like crimes, and for 
committing or suffering their copyholds to be wasted, for 
wilfully refusing to perform their services, and for leasing 
their copyholds for more than three years without licence. 

^ The Homage also present that by the custom of this 
manor copyholds are granted by copy or court roll for the 
term of forty years, and that a tenant outliving the 
said term is entitled to be re-admitted for the like term 
upon payment of the customary fine of half a year's quit- 

^ The Homage present that there are no heriots due or 
payable to the lord of this manor for any of the tenements 
holden thereof. 

^ The Homage also present that all woods, underwoods, 
and trees growing upon the copyhold lands holden of the 
said manor were by King James the First, by his Letters 
Patent, under the Great Seal of England, bearing date the 
fourteenth day of March, in the 6th year of his reign (in 
consideration of two hundred and sixty-six pounds sixteen 
shillings paid to his Majesty's use), granted to Thomas 
Goddesden and Thomas Chapman, two copyholders of the 
said manor, and their heirs and assigns, in trust to the use 
of themselves and the rest of the copyholders of the said 
manor ; and that the copyhold tenants of the said manor 
are by virtue of such grant entitled to cut all timber and 

Appendix. 447 

' other trees growing on their copyholds, and to dispose 

* thereof at their will. 

* The Homage also present that no toll has ever been Grain sold 

* paid or ought to be paid for any kind of com or grain sold J^^et 

* in the market of Hitchin. toll free. 

* They also present that from the time whereof the Common 

* memory of man is not to the contrary, the lord of this ^J rtoda. 

* manor has been used to find and provide a common pound 

* and stocks for the use of the tenants of this manor. 

* And the Homage do further present that by the custom 
^ of this manor the lord may, with the consent of the Homage, 

* grant by copy of court roll any part of the waste thereof, to 

* be holden in fee according to the custom of the manor, at 
^ a reasonable rent and by the customary services, or may 

* with such consent grant or demise the same for any lesser 

* estate or interest. 


* And the Homage of this Court do further present that 

* the commonable land within the manor and township of 

* Hitchin consists of — 

^ Divers parcels of ground called the Green Commons, Ist. Green 

* the soil whereof remains in the lord of the said manor (that 1^^^°°* 
^ is to say) : townBhi^ 

* Butts Close, contaimng eight acres or thereabouts ; o^ Hitchin. 

* Orton Mead, containing forty acres or thereabouts, exclu- 

* sively of the Haydons, and extending from the Old Road 

* from Hitchin to Pirton by Orton Head Spring west unto 

* the way which passes through Orton Mill Yard east ; and 
^ that the Haydons on the east of the last mentioned way, 

* containing four acres or thereabouts, are parts of the same 
^ common, and include a parcel of ground containing one 
' rood and thirteen perches or thereabouts adjoining the 

* river, which have been fenced from the rest of the common 

* by Samuel Allen ; and the ground called the Plats lying 
^ between Bury Mead and Cock Mead, containing two acres 

* or thereabouts, including the slip of ground between the 

* river and the way leading to the mill of the said John 






Sid. Com- 

Bight of 


Bansom, lately called Burnt Mill, and now ealled Grove 
Mill, which hath been fenced off and planted by John 

^ And of the lands of divers persons called the Lammas 
Meadows in Cock Mead, which contain eighteen acres or 
thereabouts, and in Bury Mead, which contains forty-five 
acres or thereabouts, including a parcel of land of the Bev. 
Woollaston Pym, clerk, called Old Hale. 

^ And of the open and unenclosed land within the several 
conunon fields, called Purwell Field, Welshman's Croft, Bur* 
ford Field, Spital Field, Moremead Field, and Bury Field. 

^ That the occupier of every ancient messuage or cottage 
within the township of Hitchin hath a right of common for 
such cattle and at such times as are hereinafter specified 
upon the Green Commons and the Lammas Meadows, but 
no person hath any right of common within this township 
as appurtenant to or in respect of any messuage or cottage 
built since the expiration of the 13th year of the reign of 
Queen Elizabeth, unless the same shall have been erected 
on the site of an ancient messuage then standing. 

^ That any person having right of common in respfict of 
the messuage or cottage in his actual occupation may turn 
on the Green Commons and the Lammas Meadows two 
cows and one bullock, or cow calf under the age of two 

* That the rectors impropriate of the rectory of the parish 
of Hitchin or their lessees of the said rectory are bound to 
find a bull for the cows of the said township, and to go with 
the herd thereof, and that no other bull or bull calf may be 
turned on the commons. 

^ That Butts Close is the sole cow common firom the 6th 
day of April, being Old Lady-day inclusive, to the 12th day 
of May also inclusive, and after that time is used for col- 
lecting in the morning the herd going out to the other 

^ That Orton Mead, including the Haydons, is an open 
common upon and firom the thirteenth day of May, called 
Old May-day, till the fourteenth day of February, called 
Old Candlemas Day. 

Appendix, 449 

' That the Plats are an open common upon and fix>m 
• Whitsunday till the 6th day of April. 

* That Cock Mead and Bury Mead became commonable 
on the thirteenth day of August, called Old Lammas Day, 
and continue open till the 6th day of April. 

^ That the common fields called Bury Field and Welsh- 
man's Croft are commonable for cows only from the time 
when the com is cut and carried therefrom until the twelfth 
day of November, called All Saints', and that the close of 
Thomas Wilshire, gentleman, called Bury Field Close, is part 
of the common field called Bury Field, and the closes of 
John Crouch Priest, called IcUeford Closes, are part of 
Welshman's Croft, and are respectively commonable at the 
same times with the other parts of such respective common 

* That every occupier of an ancient messuage or cottage 
hath right of common upon the Green Commons, except 
Butts Close, for one gelding from and after the thirteenth 
day of August imtil the foiurteenth day of February. 

* That no person entitled to common for his cattle may 
turn or suffer the same to remain on any of the conmions 
between the hours of six in the evening and six in the 

* That it is the duty of the Homage at every Great Court 
Baron holden next after the Feast of St. Michael to appoint 
a herdsman for this township, and that every conmioner 
turning his cows upon the conmions is bound to pay a 
reasonable sum, to be from time to time assessed by the 
Homage, for the expenses of scouring the ditches, repairing 
the fences and hedges, and doing other necessary works for 
the preservation of the commons and for the wages of the 
herdsman. And the Homage of this Court assess and present 
such payments at one shilling for every head of cattle 
turned on the commons, payable by each commoner on the 
first day in every year on which he shall turn his cattle 
upon the commons, to be paid to the foreman of the Homage 
of the preceding Court Baron, and applied in and towards 
such expenses. And that the further sum of threepence be 
paid on Monday weekly for every head of cattle which any 

G G 





commoner shall turn or keep on the commons for the wages 
of the herdsman. 

* That the cattle to be depastured on the commons ought 
to be delivered or sent by the owners to Butts Close between 
the hours of six and eight of the morning fiK>m the sixth 
day of April to the eleventh day of October, both inclusive ; 
and after the eleventh of October between the hours of 
seven and nine of the morning. And that it is the duty of 
the herdsman to attend there during such hours, and to 
receive into his care the cattle brought to him, and to 
conduct them to the proper commons, and to attend and 
watch them there during the day, and to return them to 
the respective owners at six o'clock in the evening or as 
near thereto as may be; but no cow which is not brought 
to the herdsman within the hours before appointed for 
collecting the herd is considered as part of the herd or to 
be under the herdsman's care ; and that no homed cattle 
ought to be received into the herd without sufficient knobs 
on their horns. 

The com- 
mon fieldfi. 

The three 


* That every occupier of imenclosed land in any of the 
' common fields of the said township hath common of pasture 
^ for his sheep levant and couchant thereon over the residue 

* of the imenclosed land in the same common field, in eveiy 

* year firom the time when the com is cut and carried until 
' the same be again sown with com, and during the whole of 

* the fallow season, save that no sheep may be depastured on 

* the land in Bury Field and Welshman's Croft between the 

* harvest and the twelfth day of November, the herbage 

* thereof from the harvest to the twelfth day of November 

* being reserved for the cows. 

* That the common fields within the township of Hitchin 
^ have immemorially been and ought to be kept and culti- 

* vated in three successive seasons of tilthgrain, etchgrain, 
^ and fallow. 

* That the last fallow season of Purwell Field and Welsh- 
' man's Croft was from the harvest of 18 16 until the wheat 
^ sowing in the autumn of 1817 ; and that the fallow season 

Appendix. 451 

^ of those fields commenced again at the close of the last 
^ harvest. That the last fellow season of Bnrford Field and 

* Spital Field was from the harvest of the year 1817 until the 

* wheat sowing in the autumn of the year 1818. And the 
^ last &llow season of Moremead Field and Bury Field was 
^ from the harvest of 1818 until the wheat sowing of 1819. 

^ That no person hath any right of common for sheep on 
^ any of the Green Commons or Lammas ground within this 
' township except on Old Hale and on the closes of John 
^ Crouch Priest, called Ickleford Closes, which are common- 
^ able for sheep at the same time with the field called Welsh- 
^ man's Croft. 

^ The Homage find and present that evexy owner and Right of 

* every occupier of land in any of the common fields of this *[^^^*'^ 
^ township may at his will and pleasure enclose and fence nght of 

* any of his land lying in the common fields of this township con^noii. 

* (other than and except land in Bury Field and Welshman's 
^ Croft), and may, so long as the same shall remain so enclosed 
' and fenced, hold such land, whether the same belong to one 
^ or to more than one proprietor, exempt from any right or 

* power of any other owner or occupier of land in the said. 

* township to common or depasture his sheep on the land so 
'^ enclosed and fenced (no right of common on other land 

* being claimed in respect of the land so enclosed and fenced). 

^ The Homage also find and present that the commonable 
'^ lands in the hamlet of Walsworth within this manor con- 

* sist of — 

^ A parcel of meadow ground calle4 Walsworth Common, Wslswortii 

* containing fourteen acres or thereabouts, the soil whereof Ck)miiM» 
^ remains in the lord of the manor. 

^ And of certain parcels of meadow called Lammas 
^ Meadow (that is to say), the Leys, part of the estate of Sir 

* Francis Sykes adjoining to Walsworth Common, and con- 
^ taining four acres or thereabouts ; Ickleford Mead, contain- 

* ing two acres or thereabouts; Ralph's Pightle, adjoining 
"• to Highover Moor, containing one acre or thereabouts, 

* Woolgroves, containing three acres or thereabouts, lying 

* near to the mill of John Ransom, heretofore called Burnt 

* Mill, and now called Grove MilL 

a e 3 

452 Appendix. 

* A close called the Hills, containing two acres or 
thereabouts, on the west side of the road from Hitchin to 
Baldock, and a parcel of land called the Shadwells on the 
east side of the same road, and divided by the river, con- 
taining twelve acres or thereabouts. 

^ And they find and present that four several parcels of 
land hereinafter described have been by John Ransom en- 
closed and fenced out from the said TAmmas ground called 
Woolgroves, and are now by him held in severalty. 

* And that the same are and always have been parts of 
the commonable land of the said hamlet (to wit) : A piece 
of land containing twenty-one perches or thereabouts on 
the south-west side of the present course of the river, and 
between the same and the old course ; a piece of land 
containing twelve perches or thereabouts, now by the alterar 
tion of the course of the river surrounded by water ; a piece 
of land on the north-east side of Woolgroves, containing 
one rood and twenty-two perches or thereabouts ; and a 
piece of land at the south-east comer of Woolgroves, con- 
taining one rood or thereabouts. 

* And the Homage find and present that the occupier of 
every ancient messuage or cottage within the hamlet of 
Walsworth hath a right to turn and depasture on the com- 
monable land thereof, in respect of and as appurtenant to 
his messuage or cottage, two cows and a bullock or yearling 
cow calf upon and from the thirteenth day of May, called 
Old May-day^ until the sixth day of April, called Old Lady- 
day, and one horse upon and from the said thirteenth day 
of May until the thirteenth day of August, called Old 
Lammas-day, and hath a right to turn the like number of 
cattle upon the Lammas ground in Walsworth upon and 
from Old Lammas-day until Old Lady-day. That no person 
hath a right to common or turn any sheep upon the said 
common called Walsworth Commons, and that no sheep 
may be turned on the Lammas ground of Walsworth be-^ 
tween Old I^ammas-day and the last day of November. 

* The Homage also present that it is the duty of th^ 
Homage of this Court at every Great Court Baron yearly 
holden next after the Feast of St. Michael, upon the appli- 

Appendix. 463 

' cation and request of any of the persons entitled to common 
^ the cattle upon the commons within the hamlet of Wala- 
^ worthy to appoint a herdsman for the said hamlet, and to 
^ fix and assess a reasonable sum to be paid to him for his 
^ wages, and also a reasonable sum to be paid by the com- 
^ moners for draining and fencing the commons. 

^ This Court was then adjourned to Monday, the first day 
* of November next. 

• Signed Thos. Jeeves (Foreman). 

Samuel Smith. 
John Mabshall. 
WiLLM. Dunnage. 
Wm. Bloom. 
KoBT. Newton. 
WiLLM. Hall. 
Wm. Martin. 
Thos. Waller. 
Geo. Beaver, 
w. sworder. 
John Moore. 










A CBEt the 'Belio/ or strip in the open 
^^ field (40 X 4 rode). 3, 106. 386. A 

day's work in ploaghiog, 124. Rea- 

■on of its shape, 124. Welsh acre, 

see *Erw* 
A^er, ageUua, affellulu$, territory of a 

manor, 167 
A^er vMious, tenants on, 272-288. 

Tenaencies towards manorial methods 

o! management, 300, 308 
Affri dscumates, oocupied by Alamannic 

tribes, 282-288. Position of tenants 

on, 311 
A^ occuptUorii, with irregular bound- 
aries, 277i and sometimes scattered 

ownership, 278 
Agrimensores (Roman), methods of cen- 

tnriation, 250, 276, 279 
Aillt, or aUud, See * Taeog/ Compare 

Aldiones of Lombardic Laws and 

Saxon * althud ' = foreigner, 281 
Alamannit German tribes, offshoots of, 

Hennunduri, Thuringi, &c., 282. 

Some deported into Britain, 285. 

Oonquered by Julian, 286 
Affired the Greats his founding the New 

Minster at Winchester, 160. Services 

of serfs on his manor of Hyssebume, 

162. His sketch of growth of a new 

kam, 169. His Boethius quoted, 168 
Amobr, fee on marriage of females under 

Welsh laws, 195 
AndecenOf day work of serf under 

Bavarian laws same shape ss £nglish 

acre, 325, 386, 391 
Angaria and parangaria, carrying or 

post-horse services ($ee Roman * sor- 

aida munora'), 297, and so any forced 

■ervice, 298. Manorial services, 324- 

Amcdnder^ German * headland,' 381 
Arohenfeldf in Wales, survey of, in 

Domesday Book, 182, 200-7 


Averagium manorial carrying service 
from auera or qfri, beasts of burden^ 
298, «.; at Bleadon, 57 

'DALKt the unploughed turf between 
two acre strips in the open fields, 

4; in *Piers the Plowman,' 19; ia 

Cambridge terrier, 20; in Welsh 

laws, 119; a WeUh word, 382 
BaiUbetogh, cluster of 16 taths or 

homesteads, 215-224 
BaUy, Irish townland, 221, 223 
BaUU Abbey Becords (aj). 1284-7). 4» 
BedBt complaint of lavish grants of 

manors to monasteries, 168 
Bees, Welsh Law of, 207 
Bene'Work or Boon-work, SsePrecariss- 
BUick Deaths 20 ; influence on villen- 

age, 31 
Boc-land, land of inheritance perma* 

nently made over by charter or deed, 

168, 171 
Botdon Book (a.d. 1183), evidence of, 

Book of St. Chad, Welsh charters in 

margins (xT, 209 
Booths, making of, by villani, for faira 


Bordarii, or cottagers (from < bord,' a 
cottage), 76; in Domesday Survey, 
05; normal holding about 6 acres, 
97 ; mentioned in Liber Niger of 
Peterborough, 97 

Boundariee, method of describing, in 
Hitchin Manor, 9 ; in Saxon clusters, 
1 07, 1 1 1 . Manor of King Edwy (Tid- 
enham), 149 ; in Lorsch charters. 
381. Koman method, 9. Se$also,S7^ 

Bouate {Bovaia terra), the half yard- 
land contributing one ox to the team 
of eight. 61. 2 bovates in Boldon 
Book-ivirgate, 68 


Index and Glossary. 


Brthm Lav», 226, 281, 232 
Breyr, ft&d Welsh tribesmaD, 192 
fri^atfi, Belgic difltricts of, pre-Boman 
settled agriculture in, 245. Exports 
of corD daring Roman rule, 247, 286. 
The marling of the land described by 
Pliny, 250. Analogous to ' one-field 
system' of North Ghermany, 872 
BucenobantUf deported into Britain, 287 
liuUs^ strips in open fields abutting 
others, 6 

f^MSABf description of British and 

^ Belgic agriculture, 246. Ditto of 
chiefs and tribesmen in Gaul, 305. 
Description of German tribal system, 

Cambridge, terrier of open fields of, in 
fourteenth or fifteenth century, 10, 20 

Caitptnierf village official having his 
holding ^ee, 70 

Caruca (see Carucate), plough team of 
eight oxen, yoked four to a yoke, 62, 
74, 123 ; canuia adjutriceSf or smaller 
teams of villeins, 48, 74, 85 ; variations 
in team, 64, 74 ; of Domesday Survey, 

CaruoaU^ unit of assessment ■■ land of a 
cturuca {$ee CSaruca), connexion -with 
hide, 40. Used in Domesday Surrey, 

Centenarii, Roman and Frankish 
officials, 800-303 

Centwia, division of land by Roman 
Agrimensore$ of 200 or 240 jugera, 
276. Divided into eight normal sin- 
gle holdings of 25 or 80, or double 
holdings of 50 or 60 jugera, 276 

Centuriation, See Agrimensores 

Ceor/ a husbandman; a wide term em- 
bracing, like * geneat,' the lower class 
of freemen and serfs above the slaves, 
no, 144 

Chamavi, pagus chamaviorum, 285 

Co-aratum, or co-operative ploughing 
by contributors to team of eight oxen, 
117. Described in Welsh Laws as 
*GyTar,' 118-124; in Ireland, 226; 
in Palestine, 814; in Roman pro- 
vinces, 278 

Cohnit position of, on the later Roman 
villa, 266. Right of lord to compel 
son to continue his parent's holding 
and services, 267. Often barbarians, 
269. Ink&umfruciuam, 800, «. Pos- 
sibly with single succession, 808-310 


Commendatianf surrender, putting a 
freeman under the ptUrocmmm or 
lordship of another, instances of, 805. 
Salvian's description of^ 807. Bflfoct 
of, 307-810. Fiactice continnes un- 
der Alamannie and BAvarian laws, 
allowing surrenders to the Church, 

dmtinuity of English village sites, 484- 

Comage, comagiitm^ tribute on homed 
cattle, 71 

Co-tillage. See Oo-aration 

CotsetlOf or cottier, in ' Bectitudines, 
—bordarius in Domesday Suzrej, 
130; hisservices,&c, 180-181 

Cottier tenants, holders in ^lensge of 
a few scattered strips in open fields, 
24, 29, 84, 69 

Cyvar, See Co-aration 

< ThAER* and * Saer' tenancy in Ire* 
^ land, 231 

Davits, Sir John, his surveys in Ireland 
and description of the Irish tribal 
system, 214-231 

Dawnbwgd, food rent of Welsh taeogi, 

Decuria, of slaves on Roman villa, 264 

Dimetian Code of South Wales. See 
* Wales, Ancient Laws of* 

Domeedag SurwvfjkJ}, 1086). Manon 
everywhere, 83. Lord's demesne and 
land in villenage^ 84. Assessment by 
hides and carucates, 84 ; in Kent by 
solins, 85; Wferi homines and 9odh 
manni in Danish district, 86-89. 
Tenants in villenage, viUani, bordarii 
or cottarii, and servi, 80. The viUani 
holders of virgates or ]^utl-lands, 91 ; 
examples from surveys of Middlesex, 
Herts, and Liber Eliensis, 93-94. 
Bordarii hold about five acres each, 
more or less, 95-97. Survey of THlla 
of Westminster, 97-101 ; area of 
arable land in England, and how 
much of it held in the yard-lands of 
villani, 101-104. Survey of portions 
ofWales, 182-184, 211 

Doles, or DMs, i.e. pieces or strips, 
hence ' gedal-land,' 110; and run- 
dale (or run-rig) system of taking 
strips in rotation or scattered abont, 
228 (see also Doles of Meadow-Und, 

Drengage, htmting service (BoldoD 
Book), 71 

Index and Glossary. 




Jj^BEDIW, Welsh death payment or 
-^ heriot, 196 
Edward the Confessor, his during vision 

of the open fields round Westminster, 

Einselhqfe, German single farms in 

Westphalia, 871 
Enelantn AeU^ 4,000 between 1760- 

1844, 18 
English MitlemetUi, methods of, 412- 

Ergastultim, prison for slaves on Roman 

villa, 264 
EhD, Welsh acre, the actual strips 

in open fields described in Welsh 

Laws, 119 
Etch, crop sown on stnbble, 877 
Ethelberi, Laws of, hams and tuns in 

Erirate ownership and mention of 
ets, 178-174 

V^ABER, or village blacksmith, holds 

his viigate fr^ of services, 70 
Fleta (temp. Ed. I.), description of 

manor in, 45 
Faitra (Saxon foryrthe), or headland, 

20, 108 
Frankpledge, View of, 10 
Franks, their inroads, 283 ; deported 

into Belgic Gaul, 284 
Frieians, 285. Tribute in hides, 306, fi. 
Furlong (shot, or quarentena), division 

of open fields ' a furrow long,' divided 

into strips or acres, 4; in Saxon 

open fields, 108; German, Gewann, 


^LdFOL (from German Gaben, Abgon 
hen, food gifts under German 
tribal system), tribute, 144, 145 ; in 
money and in kind, of villein tenants. 
Perhaps survival of Roman tributum 
based upon tribal food rents {see 
'Roman tributum,' and 'jugatio,' 
'gwestva'); of villani, on English 
manors, 78 ; ofgebur, on Saxon manois, 
132, 140>142, 165, 162. Marked a 
semi-servile condition, 146, 826 

GafoUland, 187. See Geneat-land 

^afol-gilder, payer of gafol or tribute, 

'Gafol'f/rth, the ploughing of generally 
three acre strips and sowing by the 
gebnr, from his own bam, and reap- 
ing and carrying of crop to load's 

bam by way of rent ; in * Rectitudines,' 
182-140 ; on Hyssebnme Manor of 
Song Alfred, 1 62 ; in South Germany 
inseventh century, 326 e^ss^. Possibly 
survival of the agrarium or tenth of 
produce on Roman provincial tithe 
lands, 899-403 

Oavael, the tribal homestead and hold- 
ing in N. Wales, 200-202 

(ravelkmd, Irish gabal-eined, distin- 
guished by equal division among 
heirs, 220, 852 

Gebur, viUanus proper, or owner of a 
yard-land normally of thirty acres 
with outfit of two oxen and seed, in 
' Rectitudines/ 131-188. His services 
described, 181-188, and 187-148; 
his gafol and week-work in respect 
of yard-land, 142; his outfit or 
*setene,' 138, 143; in laws of Ine, 
1 47. Services and gafol on Tidenham 
Manor of King Edwy, 154. In High 
German * Gebur and Gipur ' i- vicinns, 
394, and compare 278 

Gedal^Umd, land divided into strips 
(Laws of Ine), 1 10. See Doles 

Gineat, a wide term covering all tenants 
in villenage, 129, 137, 154. Servile 
condition of, liable to have life taken 
by lord, 146 

Geneat-land, land in villenage as 
opposed to ' thane's inland,' or land in 
demesne, 116. Sometimes called 
* gesettes-land ' and ' safol-land, 
128, 150; 'gyrds of gafol-Und,' 150 

Geset4and, land set or let out to 
husbandmen, 128. See * G^neab- 

Gitred Acres, strips in open fields 
pointed at one end, 6, 20 ; in Saxon 
open fields, 108 

Gwely, the Welsh &mily oouch (lectus), 
also a name for a family holdings 
195 ; in Record of Oamarvon, 194 

Gwentian Code, of South Wales. See 
' Wales, Ancient Laws of* 

GwestvOf food rent of Welsh tribesmen, 
and tunc pound in lieu of it, 195 ; 
early evidence of, in Ine's laws, 209- 

Ggrd (a rod-virga) 

Gyrdland, See Yardland. See 169- 

Cr<lA/ (hem, heim, haim), in Saxon, 

like * tun,' generally - villa or 

manor, 126, 254. A private estate 


Index and Glossary. 


with a Tillage community in sarfdom 
upon it, 127. Geographical distribu- 
tion of snfElx, 265. 8ee Villa 
Headland, strip at head of strips in a 
fiirlonff on which the plough was 
turned, 4. Latin ^forera,* Welsh 

* peniir* Scotch * headrig* German 

* anwander^ 6, 880. In Saxon open 
fields, 108 

HuUt normal holding of a free family 
(hence Latin etuatum and thefamilia 
of Bede), but in later records corre- 
sponding with the full plough team 
of eight oxen, and so —four yard- 
lands. Used as the unit of assess- 
ment for earl^ times, 38. Perhaps 
from Roman times. Compare Boman 
tributumj 290-294. Connexion with 
carucate and yard-land, 86. Normal 
hide, 120 a., 87. Xk^uble hide of, 
240 a., 37, 39, 61, 54. Possible origm 
of word, 898. The hide, the hof, and 
the cefUuria compiired, 395 

Hilokin (Herts), its * open fields,' 1-7. 
Map of township and of an estate 
therein, opposite title-page. Map of 
PurweLl field, 6. Its village com- 
munity described in Manor Kolls of 
1819, 8, and appendix. Boundaries, 
9. Officers, 10. Common fields, 1 1 . 
Its Celtic name HiM, 429. B<unan 
remains, 430. Continuity of Tillages 
in Hitchin district from Celtic and 
Boman and Sazon times, 424-486 

Hitrisc, Saxon for family holding, 162, 

Honey, Welsh rents in. See Gwestva, 

Hordwell, boundaries of, in Saxon 
Charter, 107 

Hundred KolU of Edward L, a.d. 1279. 
evidence of, as to the prevalence of 
the Manor, the open-field system and 
serfdom in five Midland Counties, 32, 
et eeq. 

Hutoand'lands in Kelso and New- 
minster Records »virgate or yard'^ 
land, 61 

HydarU, holders of hides, 52 

Uyssehume, Manor of Stoke by, on the 
river Itchin near Winchester, held by 
Kin^ Alfred, 160. Serfdom and 
services of ceorls on, 162 

JKE, LAWS OF (A.D. 688), evidence 
(Xf open -field system, 109. Acre 


strips, 110. Yardiands, 142. Hidea 
and half hides, 1 47. Geneats, gebuia, 
gafol, week-work, 147. Welsh food 
rants, 212-218 

Ing, suffix to local names; whether 
denotes dan settlaments and when 
found, 354-367 

Inquiritio Elientu mentiooa lihsR 
homines and socbmanni, 87. Men- 
tions villani as holding Tirgates, Ace 
94. Mentions both bordarii and 
cottarii. 96 

I$le of Man, early division of land inta 
ballys and quarters, 222 

JUQA TLO, 8e$ Boman tribotnm 
Jugerum, siie and form of, 887 

Jugum, (Sm Koman tribntum.) Boman 
unit of assessment, 289-295. De 
scription of, in Syrian Code, 291. 
Analogy to viigate and hide, and 
tttlung, 292 

JUngaten-R0cht, right of youngest to 
succeed to holding, 352-854. See 
also under Welsh laws, 198, 197 

1{ELS0, ABBEY OF, • RoHOub n^ 
dUuum,' 9tukt or outfit to tenants 
of, 61 

£jAMMAS LAND, meadows owned 
in striM, but oommooable after 
lAmmas Day, in Hitchin Manor, 11; 
:n lawBof Ine, 110 

Lten-land, lands granted as a benefice 
for life to a thane, 168 

LaH, conquered barbarians deported and 
settled on public lands during later 
Roman rule, chiefiy in Belgic Gaul 
and Britain, 280-289 

Leges Alamannorum (aj>. 622), sur- 
renders to Church allowed under, 317;^ 
services of senri and eolcni of the 
Church under, 328 

Leges Baiuwariorum (7th century) sur- 
renders under, 317. Services c^^o^r 
and servi of the Church under, 825 

Leges Ripuariorum, 304 

Lex Saiica, use of ' villa' in a manorial 
sense, 259-262, 303 

Lex Visigothorum (a.d. 650 about) in 
division of land between Romans and 
Visigoths, fifty aripennes allotted jmt 
singula aratra, 276 n. 

Index and Glossary. 



lAber Niger of Peterborough Abbey 
(▲.D. 1125), nearest evidence to the 
Domeeday Surrey, 72 et seq. 

Mere tenetUe$i holders of portions of 
demesne- land, i.e. land not in villen- 
ags, 83. Villeins holding yard-lands 
in yillenaffe may be libere ienenUs of 
other land besides, 84. Increasing in 
later times, 54. Absent from Domes- 
day survey generally, 86 ; Archdeacon 
Hale's theory of their presence dis- 
proyed, 86>87 n, 

laoeri homines, of Domesday Snryey in 
Danish districts, 86, 102 

Lmce, or lynch, acre strip in open fields 
formed into a terrace by always turn- 
ing the sod downwards in ploughing 
a hill side, 5; sketch of, 6; in 
Saxon open fields, 108 ; in Yorkshire 
'zeean' and Germany 'rain'>«/tft00or 
balk, 381 

JAMffonee, 284 

Lorech (Lauresham), instances of sur- 
renders to the Abbey of, 329-833 

JHfAENOL, duster of tribal home- 
steads in Welsh laws, in North 
Wales of sixteen homesteads paying 
between them the tune pounds 202. 
In South Wales the maenol is a 
group of twelve trevs, each paying 
tunc pound, 203-4 

Manor, or villa, in Saxon, ham or tun. 
An estate of a lord or thane with a 
village community generally in serf- , 
dom upon it Hitchin Manor and its 
connexion with open-field system, 
L-13. Manors before Domesday 
Survey — Winslow, 22 ; Hundred 
Rolls, 32; described in Fleta, 45; 
Battle Abbey and St. Paul's. 49 ; 
Gloucester and Worcester, 66 ; Blea- 
don, 57 ; Newminster and Kelso, 60. 
In Boldon Book, 68 ; in liber Niger 
of Peterborough, 72 ; summary, 76. 
In Domesday Survey manors every- 
where, 82 et eeq. Westminster, 97. 
Saxon ' hams ' and * tuns ' were 
manors, 126 tf^ s«£. Manor of Tiden- 
ham, of King £dwy, 148. Hysse- 
bume, of King Alfred, 160. Creation 
of new manors, 166. Terra Eegis 
composed of manors, 167. * Hams' 
and ' tuns ' in King Ethelbert's laws, 
manors, i.e., in private ownership 
with semi-servile tenants (lata) 


upon them, 173. There were manors 
in England before St. Augustine's 
arrival, 175 Knglish and Prankish 
identical, 258. Villa of Salic Laws 
probably a manor on Terra Regis, 
258-268. Likeness of Roman villa 
to, 263-272 {eee Roman 'Villa'). 
Villas, or fiscal districts of Imperial 
officials, tend to become manors, 800- 
305. Transition from villas to manors 
under Alamannic and Bavarian lawH 
in South Germany, 316-335. Prank- 
ish manors, their tenants and ser- 
vices, 338. Manorial tendencies of 
German tribal system, 346 
Monetary System, Gkillic and Welsh 
pound of 240 pence of silver divided 
into twelve unciie each of a score 
pence, 204. The Gallic system in 
Roman times, 234, 292 

XTEBVIl, 284 

Newminster Abbey, cartulary of, 60* 
No Man*s Land, or * Jack's Land,' odds 

and ends of lands in open fields, 6. 

In Saxon boundaries, 108 

QPEN'FIELD System in England; re- 
mains of open fields described, 1, 
et seq. Divided into acre or half-acre 
strips, 2. and furlongs or shots, 4. 
Holdings in bundles of scattered 
strips, 7 ; i.e., hides, half-hides, T^rd- 
lanos, &c. (to which refer). Wide 
prevalence of system in England, 13. 
The shell of a village community, 8- 
13 — which was in serfdom, 76-80. 
The English system, the three-field 
system, i.e., in three fields, repre- 
senting three-course rotation of crops, 
11. Traced back in Winslow manor 
rolls (Ed III.), 20 e^ M^. ; in Glou- 
cester and Worcester surveys, 55; 
B\ttle Abbey and St. Paul's records, 
49 ; Newminster and Kelso records, 
60 ; Boldon Book, 68 ; Liber Niger 
of Peterborough, 72. Summary of 
post-Domesday evidence, 76. Pre- 
valence in Saxon times, shown by 
use of the word acera, 106, and by 
occurrence oi gored acres, head-lands, 
furlongs, linces, &c., in the boundaries 
appended to chnrters, 108. Evidence 
of division of fields into acre strips 
in seventh century in Laws oflne,l0d' 
110. Holdings in hides, half-hides 


Index and Glossary. 


and yard-laDds, 110>117. Scattering 
of stripe in a holding the result of 
oo-operatiTe ploughing, 117-126. 
The three-field system would grow 
out of the simple form of tribal sys- 
tem, by addition of rotation of ciopa 
in three courses, settlement, and serf- 
dom, 368-370. WeUk open-field eye- 
tem, 181, 213, with (uvision into 
* erwe,' or acres, 119. Scattering of 
strips in a holding arising from co- 
aration, 121. The system *oo-ara- 
tion of the waste,' i^, of grass land 
which went back into grass, 192, 227, 
244, 25 1 . Like that of the Germania 
of Tacitus, 369, 41 2. No fixed *yard- 
lands' or rotation of crops, 261, 418. 
Irieh and Scotch open-field system 
like the Welsh ; modern remains of, in 
Rundale or Run-rig system, 214-281. 
Gf-rman open-field systems, 369-411; 
difiTerent ki ud s of . Eddoraewirtheehafi 
resembling that described by Tacitns 
and Welsh ' co-aration of waste,* 371. 
One-field system of N. Germany, 372- 
3**8. Forest and marsh siystem, 372. 
Throe-field sybtem in S. Germany, 
373. Comparison of, with Englisn, 
and connexion with Roman province, 
376-409. Absent fromN. Germany, 
and so could not have been introduced 
into England by the Saxon invaders, 
373, 409, 411. Rotation of crops, 
perhaps of Roman introduction, 410, 
411. Wide prevalence of forms of 
open-field system, 249. Description 
of, in Palestine, 314. Mention of, 
by Siculus Flaccus, 278. Possibly in 
use on Roman tithe lands, 816. Re- 
mains of the simple tribal form of, 
in modem rundale or run-rig of Ire- 
land and Scotland, quite distinct from 
the remains of the three-field form 
in England, 437-439. Described by 
Tusser as uneconomical, 17» and by 
Arthur Young, 16 

pARANGARIJE, extra carrying 

vices, see * angarie ' 
Paraveredif extra post-horses (see Roman 

* sordida munera *), 297, from veredus 

a post-horse, 298. Manorial Para- 

fretua, 326-334 
Patrocinium, See * Commendation ' 
Pfahh-grahen^ the Roman limee on the 

side of Germany, 282 


Pfiieht-theil, survival of lata Roman 
law, obliging a fixed proportion of a 
man*s property to go equally to his 
sons. In Bavaria, 818. Compare 
Bavarian laws of the seventh oentaiy, 
817, and i^yrian code of fiiUi eentary, 

Piers the Plowman, hia «&ii« felde,* an 
open field divided into half-ftcre strips 
and ftirlongs, by balks, 18-19 

PlougMote, or PUmgk-^rw^ the stzips 
set apart in the co-ploughing, for tns 
carpenter, or repair of pXoQgh, 181. 
{See Carpenter) 

IHough team, normal Eqgliah manorial 
common plough team of 8 oxen {see 

* Camca'). Welsh do., also of 8 oxen, 
121-2. Scotch also, 62-66. 6, 10. 
or 12 oxen in Servia, 387 •• In 
India, 388. Single yoke of 2 oxen in 
Egypt and Palestine, 814, 887; and 
in Sicily, 276, and Spain, 276 

Polyptique tPIrminon, Abbot of St 
Germain des Pris, and yL GnAraid's 
Introduction quotod, 266, 298, 641 

IVapositus of a manor elected by 
tenants, 48. Holds one wista with- 
out servicer at Alciston, 60. Holds 
his two bovates tne (Boldon Book), 
70. Word used for Welsh 'maer,' 184 

Precaria^ a benefice or holding at will 
of lord or lor life only, 819, 888 

Precaria or Boon-works, work at will of 
lord, 78. On Saxon Manors, 140, 
167. In South Germany, 887. 
Sometimes survivals of the Roman 

* sordida munera,' 327, 403 

Priest, his place in village communis 

often with his yard-huid, 90-111, 

Probtts introduces vine culture on the 

Rhine, 288. Deports Burgondians 

and Vandals into Britain, 288. 

Colonised with Lseti Rhine Vallqr 

and Belgic Ghaul, 288 
Punder, keeper of the village pound* 


Q UABENTENA. See Furlong. Length 
^ of ftirrow 40 poles long 

^AIN, German for 'balk' as in Yock- 

shire 'reean'-Blinch, 881 
Randir, from rkan, a division, and Hr, 
land ; a share of land under Welsh 

Index and Glossary, 



laws, 200. . A cluster of three home- 
steads in South Wales, 204 ; and fonr 
randirs in the trw^ 204; bnt in 
Korth Wales a sabdivision of the 
homestead, 200 

* BeetUudime» Sinaularum Per»onarum* 
(10th eentoiy?), evidence of^ 129 €< 
t6q. Dr. Leo's work upon, 164 

Redin, Cartulaire d$, quoted, 886 

Rhatia, semi-seryile barbarian settlers 
in, 288. Sordida munera in, 296- 
299. Boman enstom, in present 
Bararia as to land tenure, 818. 
Transition from Roman to MedisTal 
manor in, 816-335 

Riff, strip in Irish and Scotch open 
fields, 8. Hence Kun-rig system 

Raman jnffoHo nve eapitatio, 289, 295. 
8e€ Roman tributum 

Roman *sordida munera,* 295-299. 
Some of ihem surrive in manorial 
services, 824, 825, 327, 884, 404 

Roman trUmtum of later Empire, 289- 
295. Roman jugaHo and Saxon 
hidage compared, m., and 397 

Roman Veterans settled on ager pnlh 
UeuM with single or double yok^s of 
oxen and seed for about 80 or 60 
jugera, 272-276 

Roman VUta. See Villa 

Rvm^ or Rundale, the Irish and 
Scotch modem open-field system, 3. 
Smrival of methods of tribal system 
now used in subdivision of holdings 
among heirs, 226, 280, 438-440 

CfT. BERTIN, Abbey of Sitdiu at, 

^ Grimbald brought by King Alfred 
from thence, 160; Gbartularium 
Sithiensis, and surveys of estates of, 
255-6; villa or manor of Sitdiu, 
272, 866 ; suffix * inghem ' to names 
of manors, 856 

8t, Gall, records of Abbey, suirenders 
to, 316-324 

St, PauVe (Domesday of), aj>. 1222, 

SaJ4an Franks in Tozandria, 286 

Scattered Oumerehip, in open fields, 7. 
Characteristic of 'yurd-land' in 
Winslow manor rolls, 23. In Saxon 
open fields. 111. In Welsh laws, 118. 
Kesulted from co^lougbing, 121. 
Under runrig system, 226-229 

Seuioffe, Id, per acre or 1/. per double 
hide of 240 a., or 40«. per ecutrnm^ to 


which four ordinaiy hides contn- 
buted, 38 

SelUmeetthe acre or half-acre strips into 
which the open fields were divided, 
separated by turf balke, 2, 8, 19, 

Senri {elavee)t in Domesday Survey, 89, 
98-95. Saxon Tkeow, 164-166. 175. 
Welsh eaeth, 199, 238. On Roman 
Villa, 268. Arranged in deeuria, 
264. Under Alamannic and Bavarian 
laws, 817, 828-326 

Servieee of viUani, chiefiy of three 
kinds: (1 ) Ghifol, (2) precaris or boon- 
work, (8) week-work (refer to these 
heads), 41. In Hundred Rolls, 41. 
Domesday of St Paul's, 58. Glou- 
cester and Worcester records, 58. In 
Kelso records, 67. Boldon Book, 
68. Liber Niger of Peterborough, 78. 
Summary of poet-Domesday evi- 
dence, 78. On Saxon manors, in 
• Rectitudines,' 180, 187-147. On 
Tidenham manor of KingEdwy, 154. 
On Hyssebume manor of King Alfred, 
162. In Saxon < weork-raden,' 158. 
Of cottiers (or bordarii) in Hundred 
Rolls, 44. Gloucester and Worcester, 
58, 69. Of Saxon 'cotsetle,' 180, 
141. On German and Ehiglish manors 
compared, 899-405 

Seiene, outfit of holder of Saxon yard- 
Und, 183, 189. S^Stuht 

Shot, 4 {eee furlong), Saxon * sceot,' a 
division, occurs at Passau, 380 

Siculue Flaceue mentions open fields 
irregular boundaries, and scattered 
ownership, on agri oecupaiorii, 274- 

Soehmanni, a class of tenants on manors 
chiefiy in the Danish districts, 34. 
Mentioned in Hundred Rolls in Cam- 
bridgeshire, 84; in Domesday Survey, 
87. 102 

Sdanda, in Domesday of St Paul's « 
double hide of 240 a., 64 

^^tfi, etUlung, of Kent, plough land 
from * Suhl,* a plough, 54 ; divided 
into 'yokes' (■•yard-lands), 54; sul« 
lung *» 4gyralands and to ^ sullung, 
outfit of four oxen, a.d. 885, 189. & 
aleo, 395 

Stiihtt Kelso records, outfit of two 
oxen, &e., with husband-land (yard- 
land), 61. Compare 'eetene* of the 
Saxon gebur with yard-land, 138 and 
189, and outfit A Roman veteran. 


Index and Glossary . 


274 ; and soo under Bavarian Laws, 

SucceBsion to holdings, under the tribal 
system to all sons of tribesmen 
equally, 198, 234, 840 ; to yard-lands 
and other holdings in serfdom single 
by regrant, 23-24, 183, 176; so pro- 
bably in the ease of 8emi-«errile 
holdings of usi^frueiuarii under 
Boman law, 308 

Sitpereilia, or linches, mentioned by 
AgrimetuareSt 277 

%rian Code of fifth century, 291-294 

2^ACITU8, description of German 
tribal system in the Germania, 

J^aeoge (or aillts), Welsh tenants with- 
out Welsh blood or rights of inheri- 
tance, not tribesmen — their 'regis- 
ter land' (tir cyfrif), 191 ; arranged 
in separate dusters or trevs with 
equality within each, 197 ; their 
'register land,' 197; their dues to 
their lord and other incidents, 198- 

Ihte^ or Tath, the Irish homestead, 
analogous to Welsh *tyddyn,' 214, 
231. See Tribal system, Irish 

Huine, Lord of a ham. Thane's inland » 
Lord's demesneland, 1 28. Thane's law 
or duties in ' Rectitudinea,' 129 ; his 
services, 184; a soldier and servant 
of king, 135; his *fyrd,' 186; tri- 
noda neoessitaSf 184 

7%eou'S, slaves on Saxon estates, 144 ; 
their position, 164. Example from 
' iGifric's Dialogue,' 165 

Tkne-Fidd System, {See Open-field 
system.) form of the open-field 
system with three-cojrse rotation of 

Tidennamt Manor of King Edwy. 
Description of, and of services of 
geneats and geburs upon, a.d. 956, 
148-159. Cytweras and hacweras, 
for salmon fishing, 152 

Tir-bwrdd » terra mensalia, 1 98 

Tir-gwelyawg^ family land of Welsh 
free tribesmen, 191 

Tir-cgfrift register land of taeogs, 101 

Ttr-kyllydus, Welsh geldable land, 191 

Tithes of Church under Saxon laws 
taken in actual strips or acres ' as 
they were traversed by the plough,* 
1 14; acres of tithes in Domesday 


Survey, 117; Ethel wulfi grant, 
Tithe lands of Sicily, 275; of modem 
Pdestine, 814. {See * Jgri deesm^ 

7Wv, cluster of WeUi fn% trfbasmen's 
homestead!, four in North Wales, 
200-202; twelve in Sonth Wali^ 
204. liteog tren, 208 



TriM System mi Walee, 181-218. 
Welsh distriett and tnees oi^ in 
Domeadav Survey, 182, 206-7. Food 
rents in D.S., 185. Welah land fys- 
tem described by Oinldua CSambrso- 
■is, 186-189. In Ancient Laws of 
Wales, 189 etseg. The frM tribes- 
men of Welsh olood, 190. Home- 
steads scattered about, but grouped 
into clusters for payment of food 
rents, 190. Their family land (tir- 
gwelyawgX 190-191. Their right to 
a tyddjn n^omestead), flvefree 'erws * 
and co-tillage of waste, 192. The 
tribal nousehold with eqoality within 
it among brothers, first oonsins, and 
second cousins, 198. The gwely or 
fifimily couch, 194. The oim«^m» or 
food rent, and tunc pound in lieu ol 
it, 195. Other obligations of tribes- 
men, 195. The taeogs or aHUs ^ee 
these words) not tribesmen, their 
tenure and rules of equality, 197. 
Land divisions under Welsh Codes 
connected with itkegwestva and food 
rents, 199-208. £irly evidence of 
payment of gwestva and of Ibod 
rents of taeogs, 208-218. Shifting 
of holdings under tribal systeoi, 205. 
Cluster of twelve tyddyns in Gwent 
and sixteen in N. Wales pay tmme 
pound, 202, 208. A Ireiand and 
Scotland, 214-231. Clusters of six- 
teen tates or taths (Welsh tyddjn) 
215-217. Sir John Davies's surveys 
and description of tribal system. 
Tanistrv, and Gkivelkind, 215-220. 
Example of a Sept deported from 
Cumberland, 219. Ancient division 
of Bally or townland into guarters 
and tates, 221,224. Quarters and 
names of tates still ^raosable on Oid- 
nance Survey, 223-224. Names of 
tates not personal, owing to tribal 
distributions and shiftings of tribal 
households from tate to tate» 824. 

Index and Glossary. 



Iriflh open-field system — ^modale 
•or ran-ng — 226-228. Similar sys- 
tem in SootUtnd, 228-229. Tribal 
system in its earlier sta^, 281-246. 
Tenaci^ with which tnbal division 
4imoiig sons maintained, 284. The 
tribal house, 289. Blood money, 242. 
Wide prevalence of tribal system, 
244. Absent from 8.E. or Belgic 
districts of England at Boman eon- 
•qnest, 246. In Germani/, description 
of tribal system by Cesar, 336-887. 
Description of, byTaoitns, 838-842. 
Husbandry like Welsh oo-tillage of 
the waste for one year only, 848-846. 
Manorial tendencies of German sys- 
tem : tribesmen hare their senri who 
4Lte *like coUmi,* 346-846. The 
manor in embryo, 846. Tribal 
households of German settlers — local 
-names ending in ' ing' — ^whether clan 
settlements or perhaps as manorial 
as others, 846-367 

TWfi, generally in Saxon « ham or 
manor, (to which refer), 266 

Tune poinds payment in lieu of Welsh 
cnoestva (to which refer) paid to the 
Prince (^ Wales, 196 

TWssr, his description of * Champion ' 
or open-field husbandry, 17 

Tt/ddyn, the Welsh homestead, 192- 
193. Compare Irish * tate * or * tath * 
and Bohemian ' dSdiny/ 866 

TJCHELWYR, free Wekh tribesman, 

yENEDOTIAN Code of North 
Wales. See Wales, Ancient Laws 

Veredus, post horse, denvation of word, 

Villa, word interchangeable with 
manor, ham, tun, 126, 264. FranUsh 
heim or villa on Terra Regis was a 
manor and unit of jurisdiction, 267* 

262. The Soman vUla, an estate 
under a villicus, worked by slaves, 

263. Its cohorteg and ergoitulum, 
263-264. Slaves arranged in decmim, 

264. Coloni, often barbarians on a 
villa, 266. Likeness to a manor 
increasing, 267-268. Burgnndians 
shared villas with Romans, 269. 
Villas transferred to Church. 270. 
And continued under German rule to 


be villas, 270. And became gradually 
mediaeval manors with villages upon 
them, 271. Villas surrendered under 
Alamannio and Bavarian laws to the 
Church, 817 ^ eeq. 

Village Community or Villata, under a 
manor, 8. Hitchin example. See 
Hitchin. Its common or open fields : 
arable, 11 ; meadow and pasture, 
11. Itsofficials, 10, 70 

Villani, holders of land in villenage, 
29. Sometimes noHm and adacripH 
gUhte, 29. Pav heriot or relief; 
widows have dower ; make wills 
proved in Manor Court, 80. The 
yard-land the normal holding of full 
villanus with two oxen, 27 (fM Ye^- 
land). Sometimes they hold the de- 
mesne land at farm, 69. Sometimes 
fiirm whole manor, 70. Pleni'VilUmi 
and eemi'Villani, 74 

Villenage, iS^ Villani. Breaking up in 
14th century, 81. Its death-blow 
the Black Death and Wat Tyler^s 
rebellion, 81-82. Incidents of, in 
Worcestershire^ 66. General in- 
cidents, 80. See Servius 

Virgarii, holders of Virgates, 60 

VvrgaUm See Yardland. 

TJ/^ALE8, Ancient Laws of, ascribed 
to Howel Dda (10th century), 
189. Contemporary with Saxon 
Laws, 190. See * Tribal System' of; 
181-218. Parts of, mentioned in 
Domesday Survey, 182, 186 

Wat Tyler*s reUllion, 31 

Week-work, The distinctire service of 
the serf in villenage, 78 (and see for 
details 'Services ), in Seotitudines, 
week-work of gebur three days a 
week, 131, 141. In services of Tiden- 
ham unlimited, 166. So in those of 
Hyssebume, 168. In laws of Ala- 
manni (▲.d. 622) three days on estates 
of Church, 828. So in Bavarian laws 
(7th centiU7), 326. Unless lord has 
found everything, 326. On Lorsch 
manors three days, 334. See also, 

Wele, Welsh holding in Record of Car' 
narvon. See * Gwely,* 193-196 

Westminster, description of its manor 
and open fields in Domesday Survey, 

WinsUm, Court Rolls of, 20-82 


Index and Glossary. 


Wuta, in Battle Abbey reoorda » \ hide 
—the Qrwt Wttta^^ doable hide, 

Wiunburvt inRenden to Abbey of, 
829. InterchaDge between vtMotand 
in ncoidfl ot 258 

Y^Ji^LAND {gyrd'landa, x^ata 
terrm), normad holding of yUlAnns 
with two oxen in the common plough 
of eight oxen — a bundle of moeUy 
thirty scattered stripe in the open 
fields -i German 'hub.' Example of 
yard-land in Winslow Manor rolls, 
24. Rotation in the stripe, 27. Lar^ 
area in yard-lands, 88. Held in 
Tillenage by yillani, 29. Eyidence 
of Hundred Bolls, 88. Variation im 
acreage and connexion with ' hide,* 
86, 55 «■ husband-land of two boTateo 
in the North, 61, 67. Normal hold- 


ing of villanus in Liber Niger of 
Peterborough, 78. Normal holding 
of Tillanuf of Biomeeday Survey, 9U 
06. Large proportion of arable land 
of Engla»l hela in yard-lands at date 
of surrey, 101. Saxon ' flrrd-Iands,' 
111, 117. In 'Rectitudines,' 188. 
In 'Laws of Ine,' 142. A bundle of 
scattered strips resulting ftom eo- 
operatiye plou^iing, 1 1 7-1 25. With 
noj^le succession («m 'Succession') 
which is the mark of serfdom of the 
holders, 176, 870 

Fo^o/ ZafklTmentioned in Domesday 

Surrey of Kent) —yard-land. Diri- 

sion of the eullung or double hide in 

Kent, 64. Compared with Roman 

jttgwm. See Jugum 

PoAw, ekofi for two oxen, Umg for four 
oxen abreast in Welsh laws, 120 

Youngest son, custom for, to succeed to 
holding. Bee Jnngsten-Becht 



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